Everything to Know About The Blind Side's Tuohy Family Amid Michael Oher's Lawsuit

The Blind Side subject Michael Oher accused the Tuohy family of "falsely" advising him to enter into a conservatorship instead being officially adopted. Get details on everything to know.

By Elyse Dupre, Lindsay Weinberg Aug 16, 2023 12:10 AMTags
Watch: "The Blind Side" Legal Drama: Michael Oher Speaks Out

The true story behind The Blind Side is getting more complicated.

Michael Oher—the former NFL player whose inspiring journey was the basis of the 2009 movie—filed a petition this week accusing Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy of "falsely" advising him to sign papers in 2004 that made them his conservator—not his adoptive parents.

According to the petition obtained by E! News, Michael said he consented at the time, thinking "that doing so would make him a member of the Tuohy family," but learned in February 2023 that it actually provided "no familial relationship with the Tuohys."

The conservatorship gave the couple (played by Tim McGraw and Sandra Bullock in the film) the power to make business deals on his behalf, with Michael alleging the Tuohys "used that untruth to gain financial advantages for themselves." 

In response to the accusations, Sean told the Daily Memphian in part, "It's upsetting that people would think I would want to make money off any of my children." He added that lawyers had advised him when Michael was younger "that we couldn't adopt over the age of 18; the only thing we could do was to have a conservatorship."

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Tuohy family lawyer Martin Singer also blasted Michael's claims as "outlandish," as well as "hurtful and absurd."

"The idea that the Tuohys have ever sought to profit off Mr. Oher is not only offensive, it is transparently ridiculous," he said in part in a statement obtained by E! News Aug. 15, adding, "In reality, the Tuohys opened their home to Mr. Oher, offered him structure, support and, most of all, unconditional love. They have consistently treated him like a son and one of their three children." (Sean and Leigh Anne share daughter Collins and son Sean Jr. "SJ" Tuohy.) 

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

The attorney noted that the spouses would not be opposed to terminating the conservatorship.

Yet, Sean and Leigh Anne aren't the only ones upset, as Michael said in a statement that he too is "disheartened" by the legal ordeal and called it "a difficult situation for my family and me." 

So, who is Michael Oher and the Tuohy family? Keep reading to learn more details about the real-life people who inspired The Blind Side and are now at the center of a legal battle. 


Who is Michael Oher from The Blind Side?

Michael Oher is a retired NFL player whose life inspired the 2009 movie The Blind Side. He played college football at the University of Mississippi before getting drafted by the NFL in 2009. During his eight-season NFL career, he played for the Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers.

Michael, now 37, married longtime girlfriend Tiffany Roy in November 2022. "The most magical part was our vows," Tiffany told People at the time. "To hear Mike express his feelings in front of 200-plus people was astonishing and romantic. I really felt like a true queen." 

He shares son MJ and daughter Naivi with Tiffany and is also stepdad to her two kids from a prior relationship: son Kobi and daughter Kierstin, according to Today.

In addition to his career as an offensive tackle, Michael also became an author. He released I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness to The Blind Side and Beyond in 2012 and When Your Back's Against the Wall: Fame, Football and Lessons Learned through a Lifetime of Adversity in 2023.

"Oher's life has had a lot of unexpected highs: a college degree; four beautiful, healthy children and a happy marriage; drafted in the first round; a Super Bowl victory; and a second chance to play in the 'big game,'" according to the synopsis of his latest book by Christianbook. "He's also run up against quite a few walls: poverty, hunger, homelessness, struggles in school, bullying, job loss, brain injury, anxiety, and depression. What he knows now is that your wall can be your opportunity."

Actor Quinton Aaron played Michael in The Blind Side.

Skip Bolen/WireImage

Who is Leigh Anne Tuohy?

Leigh Anne Tuohy, 63, is a motivational speaker, author and interior designer who has been featured on shows like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Leigh Anne grew up in Memphis, Tenn. According to her website bio, she met her husband Sean while attending the University of Mississippi. They wed in 1982.

After the success of The Blind Side, Leigh Anne wrote two books: In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving, which she penned with Sean, and Turn Around: Reach Out, Give Back, and Get Moving. She and her family also established the nonprofit Making It Happen.

Sandra Bullock played Leigh Anne in The Blind Side and won an Oscar for her leading role in the film.

Dimitrios Kambouris/VF1/WireImage

Who is Sean Tuohy?

Sean Tuohy grew up in New Orleans. According to Leigh Anne's website, he attended the University of Mississippi on a basketball scholarship and played for the Rebels from 1979 to 1982. His bio states he was then drafted by the NBA's New Jersey Nets after college, but "opted to continue his career overseas before returning to the US to be with his father during his final days."

According to the website, Sean has worked as an NBA broadcaster for the Memphis Grizzlies for more than a decade, as well as owns and operates more than 60 fast-food restaurants. He was played by Tim McGraw in The Blind Side

Barry King/FilmMagic

Who is their daughter Collins Tuohy?

Collins Tuohy is the daughter of Leigh Anne and Sean. According to Leigh Anne's website, Collins met Michael at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis.

"When Collins became Briarcrest's Homecoming Queen, Michael was her escort," the website states, "and they shared a common bond through their unique athletic pursuits: Collins won the Tennessee State Championship in the Pole Vault as Michael earned All-State honors in the discus and basketball championships."

Like her parents, Collins attended the University of Mississippi. There, she graduated with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism and was a cheerleader, with the website stating she would support Michael from the sidelines at his football games.

Today, Collins is married to Cannon Smith. According to Leigh Anne's website, she is also the co-owner and director of marketing and sales for Whimsy Cookie Company in Memphis and is on the Board of her family's Making It Happen Foundation with her parents and SJ.

Lily Collins played Collins in The Blind Side

Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Who is their son Sean Tuohy Jr.?

Sean Tuohy Jr.—a.k.a. "SJ"—is the son of Leigh Anne and Sean. He attended Loyola University Maryland and played on the school's basketball team, before enrolling in Southern Methodist University and joining their football team. According to Leigh Anne's website, he graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications with a specialization in journalism and marketing from Loyola University Maryland as well as master's degree in humanistic studies from SMU.

Following a coaching stint at SMU, SJ went on to work at the University of Arkansas, where he served as the assistant director of football operations, special assistant to the head coach for the school's team, according to his LinkedIn bio. He went on to fulfill the role as the Liberty Flames' assistant athletic director for football operations, per his profile, and then the University of Central Florida's associate athletic director/chief of staff.

His bio states he now serves as the executive director of the Kingdom NIL.

Jae Head played SJ in The Blind Side.

E! News has reached out to Oher's lawyer for comment on Singer's statement but hasn't heard back.

To see more photos of the Tuohy family, keep scrolling:

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.

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