‘Blind Side’ Subject Michael Oher Speaks Out on Lawsuit After Alleging Touhy Family Never Adopted Him

Michel Oher is making his first public statement since filing a lawsuit on Monday that alleges that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy tricked him into a conservatorship and lied about his adoption status. 

“I am disheartened by the revelation shared in the lawsuit today,” Oher told ET through his rep on Tuesday. “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.”

Oher claims he only learned details of the conservatorship in February. He said the Tuohys allegedly told him there was no consequential difference between being adopted and entering into a conservatorship, giving them legal authority to make business deals in his name.

The former NFL star claims that he was asked to sign papers under the belief that it was part of the “adoption process,” but that they were actually conservatorship papers that would strip away his legal rights. The documents, filed in 2004, say the Tuohys “have all powers of attorney to act on his behalf” and that Oher “shall not be allowed to enter into any contracts or bind himself without the direct approval of his conservators.”

The 14-page petition filed in Shelby County, Tennessee, probate court, alleges that the Tuohys used their power as conservators to negotiate a deal with 20th Century Fox that paid them and their biological children — Collins Tuohy and Sean Tuohy Jr. — millions of dollars in royalties from The Blind Side, which earned more than $330 million. The petition alleges that all four members of the Tuohy family were paid $225,000 for the film plus 2.5% of the film’s proceeds.

Oher claims that he “at no time willingly or knowingly” signed said contract, which gives away the “perpetual, unconditional, and exclusive” rights to his name, likeness, voice, appearance, personality, personal experiences, incidents, situations, and events taken from his life with no payment. The document has a signature that appears to be his, but the petition claims “nobody ever presented this document to him with any explanation.”

The Tuohys have continued to call Oher their son and have used the assertion to promote their foundation and Leigh Anne’s work as a motivational speaker and author. 

On Tuesday, Sean Tuohy called the allegations against his family “upsetting.” 

“We’re devastated,” Sean told the Daily Memphian of the allegations. “It’s upsetting to think we would make money off any of our children. But we’re going to love Michael at 37 just like we loved him at 16.”

Sean also said that she would have no problem ending the conservatorship, noting, “I want whatever Michael wants,” he said, adding that the claims are “insulting” to their family and that they’re “devastated” by the news. 

Sean explained that the family entered the conservatorship instead of adoption due to the NCAA’s opinion when Oher was trying to get into Ole Miss.

“Michael was obviously living with us for a long time, and the NCAA didn’t like that,” Sean claimed. “They said the only way Michael could go to Ole Miss was if he was actually part of the family. I sat Michael down and told him, ‘If you’re planning to go to Ole Miss — or even considering Ole Miss — we think you have to be part of the family. This would do that, legally.’ We contacted lawyers who had told us that we couldn’t adopt over the age of 18; the only thing we could do was to have a conservatorship. We were so concerned it was on the up-and-up that we made sure the biological mother came to court.”

Sean initially said that the family didn’t make “any money” from the Oscar-winning film, The Blind Side — which was based on Oher’s life. He said that the author of the book, The Blind Side, gave them all half of his share.

“Well, Michael Lewis (the author of the book The Blind Side) gave us half of his share. Everybody in the family got an equal share, including Michael. It was about $14,000, each,” he claimed. “We were never offered money; we never asked for money. My money is well-documented; you can look up how much I sold my company for.”

Sean Tuohy Jr., who goes by SJ, also addressed the situation in an interview with Barstool Sports.

“I knew it was coming. It was a matter of time,” SJ said of the lawsuit. “…. I was surprised it happened the way it did, but no one was caught off guard.”

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‘The Blind Side’s Michael Oher Alleges Tuohy Family Never Adopted Him

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