Was ‘The Blind Side’ built on a lie? Five shocking revelations from Michael Oher

Former NFL star Michael Oher became a household name when his rags-to-riches story became the Oscar-winning movie The Blind Side, featuring Sandra Bullock.

Now the ex-athlete has claimed in a lawsuit that the adoption story behind the hit movie was a lie and that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, the white couple from Memphis who took him in as a high school student, made millions off his name while cutting him out of the riches.

And his legal petition filed in probate court in Shelby County, Tennessee, stunningly claims that the couple never actually adopted him despite that being a central plot in the story and a claim they have repeatedly made.

Here are the five most shocking revelations from the court documents:

The Tuohy family became close to Oher when his athletic talent became clear

Oher was one of 12 children born to a mother who struggled with drug addiction. He was placed in foster care before his 11th birthday and also spent time living on the streets. He attended 11 schools in nine years, but in the 10th grade, he began attending a Christian private school in Memphis after being introduced to the principal.

He went on to become one of the best football players in the country and the petition says that once his talents became obvious the Tuohys forged a close relationship with him. The family asked him to regularly stay at their home in the city and eventually made the arrangement permanent. The petition says they encouraged him to call them “mom” and dad.”

FILE – Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy stand on a street in New Orleans, Feb. 1, 2013.


Tuohy family never adopted Oher but got him to sign conservatorship

The petition says that the family did not in fact adopt Oher, but when he turned 18 in 2004 got him to sign a conservatorship, giving them the power to make business deals using his name.

And Oher’s lawyers say that he did not find out that he was not actually a legal part of the family in February 2023.

“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.”

Tuohy family gets paid for The Blind Side but Oher gets cut out of deal for his life story

Court documents state that the Tuoys negotiated a movie deal about their relationship with Oher following the 2006 release of the book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game.

According to the filing, the movie deal paid the Tuohys and their two biological children $225,000 each, as well as 2.5 per cent of the movie’s “defined net proceeds.” The movie was a hit and grossed more than $300m.

FILE – Michael Oher, left, Collins Tuohy, second from left, and Leigh Anne Tuohy, whose lives are portrayed in the Oscar-nominated movie “The Blind Side,” speak with Pastor Kerry Shook, right, March 3, 2010 at Woodlands Church’s Fellowship Campus in The Woodlands, TX.


The petition says that in 2007 Oher signed a separate contract with 20th Century Fox Studios to “give away” the rights to his life story “without any payment whatsoever.” Oher’s lawyers say that he has no recollection of signing the contract, and if he did no one explained what it meant.

The Tuoys have always said they split the money five ways, with Oher getting a cut. The petition states that he never received any money from the movie.

Oher hated the way he was portrayed in the movie

Oher’s trust in the Tuohys began to break down following the success of The Blind Side, according to his lawyer J Gerard Stranch IV.

“Mike’s relationship with the Tuohy family started to decline when he discovered that he was portrayed in the movie as unintelligent,” Mr Stranch said.

“Their relationship continued to deteriorate as he learned that he was the only member of the family not receiving royalty checks from the movie, and it was permanently fractured when he realized he wasn’t adopted and a part of the family.”

Oher asks court to impose injunction on Tuohys preventing them from using his name

The petition asks the court to end the conservatorship and to issue an injunction preventing the family from using his name and likeness.

Oher also wants a full accounting of the money the family has made using his name and to be paid a fair share of the profits. He is also seeking unspecified punitive and compensatory damages.

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