Michael Oher, the individual whose life inspired the popular 2009 film “The Blind Side,” has recently come forward with assertions that a pivotal aspect of his narrative—his adoption by a well-off family—is not accurate. Instead, Oher contends that the Tuohy family, portrayed in the movie, established a conservatorship arrangement that enabled them to exploit his name, image, and likeness for financial gain.
At 37 years of age, Oher has taken legal action by submitting a petition to the probate court in Shelby County, Tennessee, seeking the dissolution of the conservatorship. A conservatorship is a legal arrangement that empowers a party to oversee the financial and personal matters of another individual.
In addition to requesting the termination of the conservatorship, Oher is also demanding that the Tuohy family provide an account of his assets, as mandated by the conservatorship agreement. He is seeking rightful payment for any owed funds accumulated over the years, including interest, along with coverage for his legal fees and punitive damages. Michael Oher further contends that the Tuohy family should face consequences for breaching the terms of the conservatorship.
Oher’s connection with the Tuohy family originated during his high school years when he crossed paths with them. Around 2003, he started playing football at Briarcrest Christian School in the Memphis region. During his senior year, he made a notable impact in the Tennessee All-State Game for both football and basketball, as well as in the Army All-American Bowl game. These achievements led to numerous football scholarship offers.
During this period, Michael Oher was under the care of the state and frequently stayed overnight at fellow classmates’ homes. It was in the summer following his junior year that he began spending time intermittently with Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy and their children. Eventually, he was invited to live with the Tuohy family.
Oher states that the Tuohys expressed their affection for him and encouraged him to regard them as his “mom” and “dad.” They went so far as to mention adopting him, he recalls. However, Michael Oher now alleges that the Tuohys saw an opportunity to exploit his athletic prowess for their own benefit, contrasting with the compassionate intentions of other parents.
Upon reaching the age of 18, Michael Oher asserts that the Tuohys introduced the conservatorship, representing it as an adoption-like document. This document granted the Tuohys full co-legal custody, guardianship, and conservatorship over Oher, limiting his ability to engage in contracts or make medical decisions independently.
The revelation that he lacked any legal familial tie to the Tuohys only came to Oher’s attention in February of the current year. Oher also alleges that he did not receive any financial compensation from the tremendous success of “The Blind Side,” a movie adaptation of the book by Michael Lewis titled “The Blind Side: Evolution of the Game.”
Leigh Anne Tuohy and the Tuohy family’s nonprofit organization, Making It Happen, have yet to provide comments on these allegations.
Furthermore, Oher contends that his signature was forged on a 2007 document that granted 20th Century Fox exclusive rights to use and portray his name, likeness, and other personal attributes associated with the book and film, leading up to the 2008 NFL draft. While uncertain about the authenticity of the document’s signature, Oher insists that he did not sign it.
In response to these claims, Oher suggests that if the Tuohys indeed forged the document, they should relinquish all proceeds earned from the film, including interest, and compensate him for punitive damages. Oher also accuses the Tuohys of failing to adhere to the contract’s stipulations by neglecting to provide annual accounts of his assets.
Despite a 2004 filing indicating Oher’s desire for the Tuohys to act as his legal guardians until the age of 25 or until dissolved by court order, his recent petition argues that the conservatorship is unnecessary as he is fully capable of managing his own affairs.