A month after the retired NFL player, whose life story was portrayed in 2009 film The Blind Side, alleged that the Tuohys lied about adopting him and instead had him enter a conservatorship, the couple explained that an adoption was never in the plans, according to court documents obtained by E! News on Sept. 15.
"They vehemently deny that they saw [Michael] as a gullible young man whose athletic talent could be exploited for their own benefit," read the documents, which they filed in response to Michael's request to terminate the conservatorship. "The [Tuohys] admit that they never intended to, and in fact never did, take any action to assume legal custody through the Juvenile Court of Shelby County, Tennessee."
Emphasizing that "there was never an intent to adopt him," the document alleged the Tuohys explored a conservatorship option so Michael could play college football.
"When it became clear that [Michael] could not consider going to the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) as a result of living with the [Tuohys], the NCAA made it clear that the only way he could attend Ole Miss if he was part of the Tuohy family in some fashion," the documents read. "Conservatorship was the tool chosen to accomplish this goal." (E! News previously reached out to the NCAA for comment on the Tuohy's claim about the alleged collegiate rules but didn't hear back.)
In court documents filed in August, Michael alleged that the Tuohys "falsely advised" him to sign a document in 2004 that made them his conservators, which then gave them the legal authority to conduct a business deal for his life story in The Blind Side.
Michael, now 37, said he became aware of the alleged true nature of his family arrangement in February, 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, Sean and Leigh Anne said their family bond did exist, but not just in a court-appointed manner.
The Memphis couple said they do consider Michael "as part of their family and over time the Petitioner referred to Respondents as 'mom' and 'dad,' and the Respondent's occasionally referred to the Petitioner as a son," their September petition continued. "In fact, they have always felt that the Petitioner was like a son and have used that on occasion but not in a legal sense."
On Aug. 16, the Tuohys' attorney Randall Fishman said the couple is planning to voluntarily terminate their conservatorship over Michael, per the Associated Press. A day prior, Marty Singer, another lawyer for the pair, said in a statement to E! News that "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 Michael's rep for comment on the new court petition and has not heard back.