NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The man and former football player at the center of the film “The Blind Side” is suing his adoptive family, claiming they never actually adopted him and instead tricked him into signing over the rights to his life story in order to make money.
Michael Oher, whose story was the subject of the hit 2009 movie, claimed in a Tennessee court that the basis of the movie is a lie. Oher said the Tuohy family never legally adopted him.
In the court filing, Oher said Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy presented him with a petition in 2004 for a conservatorship, which granted them “total control over [his] ability to negotiate for or enter any contract” even though he was over the age of 18 and had no physical or mental disabilities. He said they presented it as the only option they had to “adopt” him since he was over 18.
Since then, Oher claims, the Tuohys have “falsely and publicly represented themselves as the adoptive parents of Michael.”
In the petition filed Monday in Shelby County Probate Court, Oher asks for the conservatorship to be terminated along with asking for a full accounting of the money earned off the use of his name and story.
He also asks to be paid what he is due along with interest. Oher, who has never been a fan of the movie of his life, also asks in the petition that the Tuohys be sanctioned and required to pay both compensatory and punitive damages determined by the court.
“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 complaint reads.
Oher said this “lie” was not known to him until February of this year, according to the complaint, to his “chagrin and embarrassment.”
Further, Oher said the Tuohys negotiated big payments for themselves and their two biological children from the movie rights. The film, which earned an Oscar for Sandra Bullock’s portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy, made an estimated $330 million dollars, the filing states.
To this day, the complaint reads, the conservatorship is ongoing, as no member of the Tuohy family nor the Shelby County Probate Court have ever moved to have it terminated. Additionally, Oher claims the Tuohys have failed to require annual financial reports with the court as required of conservators by law.
Steve Farese, a lawyer for the Tuohys, told The Associated Press that they will file an answer to the allegations in court but he declined to comment further. He was among three attorneys served on behalf of the Tuohys on Monday.
Oher was the 23rd overall pick in the 2009 draft out of Mississippi, and he spent his first five seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. He wound up playing eight NFL seasons, including 2014 when he started 11 games for the Tennessee Titans. Oher finished his career with two years in Carolina.
He started 110 career games and won a Super Bowl with the Ravens. He also finished second in the voting to Percy Harvin of Minnesota for The Associated Press NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year after starting all 16 games his first season at right tackle.
Oher, who turned 37 in May, last played in the NFL in 2016 before being released in 2017 by Carolina.
You can read the full complaint here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.