Tuohy Family Lawyer Slams The Blind Side Subject Michael Oher's Lawsuit as "Shakedown Effort"

Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy's attorney Marty Singer accused Michael Oher of suing the Blind Side family "as a cynical attempt to drum up attention."

By Gabrielle Chung Aug 15, 2023 10:52 PMTags
Watch: "The Blind Side" Legal Drama: Michael Oher Speaks Out

Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy's lawyer is calling a foul on Michael Oher's lawsuit.

Marty Singer, who is representing the couple in the case, fired back at the former NFL star's allegations that the family had lied about adopting him and subsequently made millions from his story, which was the basis of the 2009 movie The Blind Side. Singer argued that his client had "given Mr. Oher an equal cut of every penny received from The Blind Side" and accused the 37-year-old of using the lawsuit as a "shakedown effort" for more cash.

"Anyone with a modicum of common sense can see that the outlandish claims made by Michael Oher about the Tuohy family are hurtful and absurd," Singer said in a statement to E! News on Aug. 15. "The idea that the Tuohys have ever sought to profit off Mr. Oher is not only offensive, it is transparently ridiculous."

Saying that the Tuohy's wealth came from their "hard work and good fortune" in the restaurant business, Singer continued, "The notion that a couple worth hundreds of millions of dollars would connive to withhold a few thousand dollars in profit participation payments from anyone—let alone from someone they loved as a son—defies belief."

"In reality, the Tuohys opened their home to Mr. Oher, offered him structure, support and, most of all, unconditional love," he said. "They have consistently treated him like a son and one of their three children."

Athletes and Their Sports Star Kids

Throughout the years, Singer said the Tuohys "made good" on a pledge to Oher to equally divide net profits earned from turning their life story—which was first adapted into a 2006 book by Michael Lewis—into a movie. Instead, the attorney alleged, Oher threatened them and sued the family as a part of a "shakedown effort."

"Unbeknownst to the public, Mr. Oher has actually attempted to run this play several times before," Singer said. "Sadly, Mr. Oher has finally found a willing enabler and filed this ludicrous lawsuit as a cynical attempt to drum up attention in the middle of his latest book tour."

Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The lawyer added, "The Tuohys will always care deeply for Mr. Oher. They are heartbroken over these events. They desperately hope that he comes to regret his recent decisions, makes different choices in the future and that they someday can be reconciled with him. In the meantime, however, they will not hesitate to defend their good names, stand up to this shakedown and defeat this offensive lawsuit."

In a 14-page petition obtained by E! News Aug. 14, Oher alleged the Tuohys "falsely advised" him when he was younger to sign a document that made them his conservators, asserting that it would make him a member of the family. The retired football player accused the Tuohys in his filing of wielding their legal power as conservators to make business deals and "gain financial advantages for themselves," while he did not receive compensation for a story "that would not have existed without him."

Dimitrios Kambouris/VF1/WireImage

"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 petition read. "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."

However, in his statement to E! News, Singer said the Tuohys "have always been upfront about how a conservatorship (from which not one penny was received) was established to assist with Mr. Oher's needs, ranging from getting him health insurance and obtaining a driver's license to helping with college admissions."

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Singer continued, "Should Mr. Oher wish to terminate the conservatorship, either now or at anytime in the future, the Tuohys will never oppose it in any way."

E! News has reached out to Oher's attorneys for comment on Singer's remarks. However, earlier on Aug. 15, he told E! News in a statement through his legal team, "I am disheartened by the revelation shared in the lawsuit today. This is a difficult situation for my family and me. I want to ask everyone to please respect our privacy at this time. For now, I will let the lawsuit speak for itself and will offer no further comment."

Keep reading to see 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.

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