Michael Oher: “The Blind Side” NFL Star Claims Adopted Family Exploited Him For Millions

Any depiction of a "familial relationship" was a lie.

Michael Oher: “The Blind Side” NFL Star Claims Adopted Family Exploited Him For Millions

Former NFL player Michael Oher, whose story inspired the 2009 Oscar-winning movie The Blind Side, has filed a petition which claims he was tricked into signing a conservatorship just months after his 18th birthday, and that the adoption story depicted in the film was a lie.

Based on the book by Michael Lewis of the same name, The Blind Side tells the heartwarming story of a young black teenager who was lifted out of poverty by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, a rich, white family who took Oher into their home as one of their own and supported him as he realised his dream of playing in the NFL.

Yet, as reported by ESPN, a petition filed this month by Michael Oher alleges that the Tuohy family knowingly deceived him as a teenager, and encouraged him to sign a document that made Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy his conservators just three months after his 18th birthday; Oher alleges he was never adopted by the Tuohy family.

“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 petition alleges. “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.”

The Tuohy family allegedly exploited Michael Oher and fabricated his adoption to make millions. Image: Getty

Oher claims that the Tuohy family used their power as conservators to exploit him, negotiating a movie deal following the release of the book to profit off his fabricated adoption story.

The Blind Side grossed over $300 million USD (~$462 million AUD), earning the Tuohys and their two birth children $225,000 USD (~$347,000 AUD) each, according to the petition; Oher claims he did not receive any payment for the film.

“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 petition, filed in Shelby County, Tennessee, claims.

“All monies made in said manner should in all conscience and equity be disgorged and paid over to the said ward, Michael Oher.”

Sandra Bullock won an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and SAG Award for Best Actress for her role playing Oher’s adopted mother Leigh Anne Tuohy in the film, and Leigh Anne continues to profit off Michael’s story through her work as a motivational speaker.

“Mike’s relationship with the Tuohy family started to decline when he discovered that he was portrayed in the movie as unintelligent,” J. Gerard Stranch IV, Oher’s lawyer 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.”