Former NFL player Michael Oher, the real-life inspiration behind the 2009 Academy Award-winning film “The Blind Side,” has filed a petition in a Tennessee court alleging that he was never legally adopted by the Tuohy family who cared for him, but instead was misled into a conservatorship that primarily benefited them.
In the document filed on Monday, Oher claims that he discovered in February 2023 that he was never officially adopted by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, and that he was manipulated into entering a conservatorship after he turned 18.
According to Oher’s allegations, the Tuohy family misled him into believing that he was adopted, while they were actually enriching themselves through the conservatorship arrangement. The petition states that the conservatorship was presented to Oher as a form of legal adoption.
The filing highlights that Michael Oher found out about this deception in February 2023, and it accuses the Tuohy family of benefiting financially from the movie “The Blind Side” without adequately compensating him. The Tuohys are reported to have negotiated a deal that granted them substantial payments and royalties from the film, while Oher was allegedly left with minimal compensation.
Oher’s attorneys argue that his difficult background left him vulnerable to manipulation, and that he believed the Tuohys’ claims of love and adoption. The petition seeks to terminate the conservatorship, prevent the family from using his name and likeness, and demand that Oher receives a share of the profits earned from the use of his story.
The filing also asserts that the family’s financial gains through the movie should be shared with Oher, as he was led to believe that they were his legal guardians. The petition claims that these actions have violated Oher’s rights and ethical considerations.
Michael Oher’s journey from a challenging upbringing to professional success was portrayed in “The Blind Side,” a film that earned critical acclaim and widespread recognition. Oher’s current legal action has cast a spotlight on the discrepancy between his real-life experiences and the narrative presented in the film.
Oher’s attorney, J. Gerard Stranch IV, expressed Oher’s emotional response to the discovery, stating that the revelation of not being officially adopted by the Tuohy family was devastating for him.
As the legal proceedings unfold, this case sheds light on the complexities of adoption, guardianship, and the ethical responsibilities that come with sharing real-life stories on screen. The outcome of this legal battle could have implications for how individuals’ stories are depicted and compensated in media adaptations.