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Michael Oher is taking legal action.
The retired NFL player—whose story became the basis for the hit movie The Blind Side—has filed a petition in a Shelby County, Tennessee court, alleging that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy lied about adopting him when he was a high school student, according to a copy of court documents posted online and viewed by E! News Aug. 14.
In the 14-page petition, Oher alleges that less than three months after he turned 18 in 2004, instead of formally adopting him into their family, the couple “falsely advised” him to sign a document that made them his conservators as part of the process, giving them the legal power to complete business deals in his name.
“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 legal filing states. “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 sports drama film, which ultimately grossed over $300 million, follows Oher’s journey as he rises to become a football star with the Tuohys’ guidance, which sees him eventually being adopted by them during his high school years.
“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 claims. “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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The legal filing claims that the movie paid the Tuohys and their two children $225,000 each, plus 2.5% of the film’s “defined net proceeds.”
The document also alleges that while the deal allowed the Tuohys to profit from the movie, a separate contract purportedly signed by Oher appears to “give away” the life rights to his story “without any payment whatsoever.”
However, Oher alleges that he doesn’t know “whether the signature was forged,” adding that he at “no time ever willingly or knowingly signed this document,” nor was an explanation provided to him.
Oher, now 37, also alleges in the petition that the Tuohys used their power as conservators to strike a deal that paid them and their children millions of dollars in royalties, while the former Tennessee Titans player didn’t receive anything for a story “that would not have existed without him.”
His legal petition is asking the court to end the Tuohys’ conservatorship and to issue an injunction to stop them from using his name and likeness. The filing is also seeking a full accounting of the money the Tuohys earned using Oher’s name and to have the couple pay him his fair share of profits, as well as unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
E! News has reached out to reps for Oher and the Tuohys for comment and has not heard back.
The retired athlete, who became an All-America left tackle and a draft pick by the Baltimore Ravens in 2009 after graduating from the University of Mississippi, voiced his true thoughts on the movie previously, sharing that he felt it has “taken away” from his football career.
“People look at me, and they take things away from me because of a movie,” Oher told ESPN in 2015. “They don’t really see the skills and the kind of player I am. That’s why I get downgraded so much, because of something off the field.”
As he noted at the time, “Offensive linemen don’t get looked at. Nobody is paying attention to the offensive line. But me? I’m getting watched for everything. I know what type of player I am. Everybody else that I know knows what type of player I am. So that kind of stuff doesn’t worry me.”
Scroll on to see photos of Oher and the Tuohy family through the years.
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