Michael Oher, Subject of Blind Side, Says Tuohy Family Earned Millions After Lying About Adoption

Retired NFL star Michael Oher, who was the subject of the film The Blind Side, has claimed in a new legal petition that the Tuohy family earned millions after establishing a conservatorship.

By Kisha Forde Aug 14, 2023 8:04 PMTags
Watch: Sunday Night Football Prep With E!

Michael Oher is taking legal action.
The retired NFL player—whose story became the basis for the hit movie The Blind Side—has filed a petition in a Shelby County, Tennessee court, alleging that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy lied about adopting him when he was a high school student, according to a copy of court documents posted online and viewed by E! News Aug. 14.

In the 14-page petition, Oher alleges that less than three months after he turned 18 in 2004, instead of formally adopting him into their family, the couple "falsely advised" him to sign a document that made them his conservators as part of the process, giving them the legal power to complete business deals in his name.

"The lie of Michael's adoption is one upon which Co-Conservators Leigh Anne Tuohy and Sean Tuohy have enriched themselves at the expense of their Ward, the undersigned Michael Oher," the legal filing states. "Michael Oher discovered this lie to his chagrin and embarrassment in February of 2023, when he learned that the Conservatorship to which he consented on the basis that doing so would make him a member of the Tuohy family, in fact provided him no familial relationship with the Tuohys."

Top 10 Super Football Movies

Oher's story rose to prominence with The Blind Side, the 2009 movie starring Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw and Quinton Aaron, which would earn Bullock an Oscar for her performance as Leigh Anne Tuohy.

The sports drama film, which ultimately grossed over $300 million, follows Oher's journey as he rises to become a football star with the Tuohys' guidance, which sees him eventually being adopted by them during his high school years.

"Since at least August of 2004, Conservators have allowed Michael, specifically, and the public, generally, to believe that Conservators adopted Michael and have used that untruth to gain financial advantages for themselves and the foundations which they own or which they exercise control," the petition claims. "All monies made in said manner should in all conscience and equity be disgorged and paid over to the said ward, Michael Oher."

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The legal filing claims that the movie paid the Tuohys and their two children $225,000 each, plus 2.5% of the film's "defined net proceeds." 

The document also alleges that while the deal allowed the Tuohys to profit from the movie, a separate contract purportedly signed by Oher appears to "give away" the life rights to his story "without any payment whatsoever."

However, Oher alleges that he doesn't know "whether the signature was forged," adding that he at "no time ever willingly or knowingly signed this document," nor was an explanation provided to him.

Oher, now 37, also alleges in the petition that the Tuohys used their power as conservators to strike a deal that paid them and their children millions of dollars in royalties, while the former Tennessee Titans player didn't receive anything for a story "that would not have existed without him."

His legal petition is asking the court to end the Tuohys' conservatorship and to issue an injunction to stop them from using his name and likeness. The filing is also seeking a full accounting of the money the Tuohys earned using Oher's name and to have the couple pay him his fair share of profits, as well as unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

E! News has reached out to reps for Oher and the Tuohys for comment and has not heard back.

The retired athlete, who became an All-America left tackle and a draft pick by the Baltimore Ravens in 2009 after graduating from the University of Mississippi, voiced his true thoughts on the movie previously, sharing that he felt it has "taken away" from his football career.

"People look at me, and they take things away from me because of a movie," Oher told ESPN in 2015. "They don't really see the skills and the kind of player I am. That's why I get downgraded so much, because of something off the field."

As he noted at the time, "Offensive linemen don't get looked at. Nobody is paying attention to the offensive line. But me? I'm getting watched for everything. I know what type of player I am. Everybody else that I know knows what type of player I am. So that kind of stuff doesn't worry me.''

Scroll on to see photos of Oher and the Tuohy family through the years.

The Blind Side Premiere

Collins Tuohy, Sean Tuohy Jr., Leigh Anne Tuohy and Sean Tuohy got dressed up for the 2009 New York premiere of The Blind Side, the movie based on their life with adoptive son Michael Oher, who became a pro football player.

Oscars Night

The longtime couple walked the red carpet at the 2010 Academy Awards in Los Angeles in honor of The Blind Side, which earned actress Sandra Bullock an Oscar that year for playing Leigh Anne.

The View Appearance

Michael Oher promoted his book I Beat the Odds on The View in 2011.

Real-Life Inspiration

Sandra Bullock posed with Leigh Anne, who she played onscreen, at a Blind Side benefit event in New Orleans in 2009.

The Heat Premiere

Sean, Leigh Anne and Collins attended the movie's New York premiere in 2013.

Wedding Day

Michael tied the knot with Tiffany Roy in November 2022. "Filled with joy, can't believe people took their time and came to celebrate!" the former NFL player captioned a photo of the ceremony. "My beautiful wife, I love you so much, thank you for blessing me with our family! Easily the best single weekend I've ever been apart of." 

CMT Music Awards

Leigh Anne and and Sean brought daughter Collins to the 2010 CMT Music Awards, where Carrie Underwood was a big winner.

The Trio Together

The group posed for a photo at the Nashville event.

Legacy Lives On

Oher stopped by the Walk of Champions at Ole Miss in April 2023. "Glad to see my name's still there," he wrote. "Class of ‘09, represent (‘08 football season). I got to take a tour of the new facilities under construction."


Collins' Date Night

The marketing expert shared a photo with her husband Cannon Smith at the Old Florida Fish House
in July 2023. "Sweaty faces and full hearts," Collins wrote on social media. "It's a hot one down here, but we are having the best time. This restaurant is an oldie but goodie. We always eat here at least once. Best sushi."


New York Interview

Michael stopped by SiriusXM Studios in NYC on Aug. 9, 2023. 

Mom-Daughter Moment

"Always know football season is right around the corner when it hits LAT's birthday," Collins wrote on Instagram in August 2023 alongside a throwback photo. "Today is the day… Happy Birthday Mom!! Love you!"

Family Photo

The football pro shared a pic with his loved ones in March 2023, writing, "Life is Beautiful‼️#family #life #growth."

White House Correspondents' Association Dinner After-Party

The pair, who got married in 1982, went to an after-party hosted by Bloomberg and Vanity Fair party following the 2010 White House Correspondents dinner in Washington, DC.

Book Release

Michael geared up for the release of his book When Your Back's Against the Wall in August 2023.

For the latest breaking news updates, click here to download the E! News App