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‘The Blind Side’ Inspiration Michael Oher Alleges Adoption Was a Lie, Files Lawsuit Against Tuohy Family

Retired football player Michael Oher, who was the inspiration behind the Oscar winning film The Blind Side, has filed a lawsuit that alleges the Tuohy family never adopted him — and made a profit off the lie.

According to court documents obtained by Us Weekly Oher, 37, claimed that Leigh Anne Tuohy and Sean Tuohy convinced him to sign a document in order to make them his conservators, giving the family legal authority to make business deals in his name in 2004.

“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 filing reads. “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.”

Oher is now seeking to terminate the conservatorship and asking the court to prohibit the Tuohys from using his name and likeness. Oher is also seeking that the Tuohys pay him his “fair share of profits,” plus “unspecified compensatory and punitive damages,” per the outlet.

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The Blind Side told the supposedly uplifting story of how Leigh Anne, 63, and husband Sean, also 63, took Oher out of the foster care system and helped him turn into a sports prodigy. (Oher played at Ole Miss for four seasons before he was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2009.) The film, which made more than $300 million at the box office, starred Sandra Bullock and earned the actress an Academy Award for her portrayal of Leigh Anne.

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Michael Oher. Robert Cornforth/UPI/Shutterstock

The filing also claims that the 2009 movie paid Leigh Anne, Sean and their two birth children each $225,000 — plus 2.5 percent of the film’s “defined net proceeds” — but Oher never saw a dime.

“Since at least August of 2004, Conservators have allowed Michael, specifically, and the public, generally, to believe that Conservators adopted Michael and have used that untruth to gain financial advantages for themselves and the foundations which they own or which they exercise control,” the docs state. “All monies made in said manner should in all conscience and equity be disgorged and paid over to the said ward, Michael Oher.”

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Oher wrote in his 2011 memoir, I Beat the Odds, that he signed a legal document with the Tuohys when he was a senior in high school. In the book, Oher claimed that the Tuohys told him that there was not a noticeable difference between adoption and conservatorship.

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Quinton Aaron, Sandra Bullock. Moviestore/Shutterstock

“They explained to me that it means pretty much the exact same thing as ‘adoptive parents,’ but that the laws were just written in a way that took my age into account,” Oher penned at the time.

The Tuohys have yet to publicly respond to Oher’s legal filing.

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