Former NFL American football star Michael Oher, whose life story was based on the 2009 Oscar-winning film “The Blind Side,” is suing the Tennessee couple who raised him as a teenager.
Oher, 37, who won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens during his eight seasons in the NFL, accused Leigh Anne Tuohy and husband Sean Tuohy of tricking her into turning over control of her finances to them. The accusation was contained in a legal petition he filed on Monday (14/8).
Oher alleged that instead of being legally adopted by the Tuohy family, as he had been told, the couple set up a guardianship system, known as a conservatorship, that allowed them to profit from their name.
The lawsuit files aimed at terminating the trust also explain that the Tuohys used their control of Oher’s financial affairs to make millions from the success of the film “The Blind Side.”
The film earned over $300 million at the box office and won an Oscar for Sandra Bullock as best actress, who played the character Leigh Anne Tuohy.
The film, which is based on journalist Michael Lewis’s 2006 book of the same name, tells how Oher, who spent most of his youth in an orphanage, is taken in and cared for by the Tuohy family before pursuing a successful career in the NFL.
However, Oher’s lawsuit filed that the film’s premise, that he was adopted by the Tuohy family, was a hoax.
“Michael Oher discovered this lie, to his dismay and embarrassment, in February 2023, when he learned that the trusteeship he had agreed to on the basis that it made him a member of the Tuohy family, in fact did not provide him with any kind of kinship with the Tuohy family.
“Since at least August 2004, trustees have allowed Michael, in particular, and the public, generally, to believe that the trustees adopted Michael and have used the lie to gain financial advantage for themselves and the foundations they own or control,” it added. the petition.
Poster for The Blind Side starring Sandra Bullock.
‘It feels sad’
The lawsuit aims to end the Tuohy family’s guardianship and ban them from using the name Oher and so on.
In addition to financial damages and compensation, Oher also wants to receive some of the benefits he claims he never received.
In response to the lawsuit, Sean Tuohy said his family was “devastated” by the accusations.
“It’s sad to think that we want to get money out of our kids,” Tuohy told the Daily Memphian newspaper in Tennessee.
“But we will love Michael at 37 (today) as much as we loved him when he was 16.”
However, Tuohy acknowledged the existence of a trusteeship system over Oher’s affairs, which he said was done in good faith after obtaining legal advice. He added that Oher’s biological mother herself attended the trial to formalize the trust.
“We contacted lawyers who told us we could not adopt (children) over 18; the only thing we can do is a trusteeship,” said Tuohy. “We wanted so badly to make sure it was legal that we made sure the biological mother was present at the trial.”
Tuohy also stated that his family made little money from the success of The Blind Side.
“We didn’t make any money from the film,” said Tuohy. “But Michael Lewis gave us half the share. Everyone in this family receives the same amount, including Michael (Oher). That amounts to about $14,000 each.” (rd/rs)