Michael Oher via CNN YouTube, screenshot

Michael Oher, the retired NFL star depicted in the 2009 film The Blind Side, filed a petition Monday in Shelby County, Tennessee probate court challenging the portrayal of his “adoption” by the now-famous Tuohy family.

Michael Oher via Good Morning America YouTube, screenshot

According to the 14-page petition, the Tuohys never formally adopted Oher. Instead, they allegedly had him sign conservatorship documents shortly after he turned 18 in 2004, giving them the authority to make business decisions on his behalf. Oher claims he was unaware of the specifics, believing all along that he had been adopted by the family.

Oher accuses the family of also profiting from the popular film about his story, which grossed over $300 million, while he received nothing. Oher stated that the Tuohy’s wealth and notoriety “would not have existed without him.”

Since the film came out in 2009, the Tuohys have continued to profit off of Oher using the, as Oher claims, false story to enrich themselves.

Leigh Ann Tuohy via KSDK News YouTube, Screenshot

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The Tuohy family did not immediately respond for comment when reached out to by ESPN. Oher’s petition seeks an end to the conservatorship, prohibits the Tuohys from using his name and likeness, and demands an accounting of the profits they derived using his story.

In previous statements, the Tuohys claimed they shared their movie earnings with Oher. However, the NFL star’s trust in the family eroded over time, especially due to the film’s portrayal of him.

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“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,” says Oher’s official legal filing.

“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.

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

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Legally, adoption would have made Oher a Tuohy family member with financial autonomy. However, under the conservatorship, the Tuohys had financial control. The petition claims the Tuohys negotiated the movie deal after the 2006 book “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game,” and received $225,000 each and 2.5% of the film’s net proceeds.

The Blind Side grossed over $300 million and earned significant home video sales. It was nominated for Best Picture, and Sandra Bullock won Best Actress.

Oher went on to a very successful NFL career, which includes a Super Bowl victory with the Ravens in the “Harbaugh Bowl” of 2013, and later played in Super Bowl 50 for the Panthers, covering quarterback Cam Newton’s blind side.

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