Ex-NFLer Michael Oher Claims ‘Blind Side’ Family Lied About Adopting Him

The heartwarming story of Michael Oher, the ex-NFL player who overcame adversity with the help of the Tuohy family in the movie “The Blind Side,” has taken a shocking turn. Oher has recently filed a lawsuit claiming that the Tuohys never actually adopted him, but rather deceived him into signing over the rights to use his name for business deals after he turned 18.

The Allegations and Legal Proceedings

In a 14-page petition filed in Shelby County, Tenn., probate court, Oher alleges that the Tuohys used their conservatorship to make millions of dollars in royalties from the 2009 Oscar-nominated movie, while he received nothing. The legal filing accuses the Tuohys of enriching themselves at Oher’s expense, stating, “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 [Oher]”. Oher claims that he discovered the truth in February 2023 and is now seeking to end the conservatorship and secure an injunction to prevent the Tuohys from using his name and likeness.

The Impact of Adoption vs. Conservatorship

If Oher had been legally adopted, he would have retained the power to handle his own finances as a member of the family. Instead, the conservatorship granted the Tuohys authority over Oher’s financial matters. By allegedly tricking Oher into signing the document that named them as his conservators just three months after he turned 18, the Tuohys gained control over his finances and used it to their advantage.

The Financial Gains and Disparities

Oher’s lawsuit claims that the Tuohys profited handsomely from the success of “The Blind Side,” while he received no financial compensation. According to the legal filing, the couple and their two birth children each made $225,000, plus 2.5% of the movie’s net proceeds. Oher wants an accounting of the money they have earned off his name, a fair share of the profits, and punitive damages.

The Emotional Impact on Oher

The revelation of the alleged deception has deeply affected Oher. His lawyer, Stranch, explains that Oher didn’t grow up with a stable family life, and the Tuohys filling that void meant a lot to him. Discovering that he was not actually adopted devastated Oher and wounded him deeply. The lawsuit aims to bring justice and right the wrongs that Oher believes he has suffered.

Oher’s Criticism of “The Blind Side”

Even before the recent lawsuit, Oher had been critical of the movie and its portrayal of him. He claimed that the movie depicted him as illiterate, which he found distressing. Oher, who came from a hardscrabble upbringing, stated that he was already an accomplished athlete before joining the Tuohy family. He had a strong work ethic and a sense of urgency about him, contrary to the movie’s suggestion that the Tuohys taught him how to play. Oher expressed gratitude for being allowed to stay with the Tuohys during his senior year but emphasized the sacrifices he had already made to reach that point.

The Tuohys’ Response

As of now, the Tuohy family has not responded to requests for comment on the allegations. However, they had previously claimed that they did not make much from the movie and shared the profits fairly with Oher. The lawsuit, on the other hand, asserts that Oher received nothing and that the profits from the movie should be disgorged and paid to him.

The Future for Oher

The outcome of the lawsuit remains uncertain, but it represents a significant step for Oher in seeking justice and reclaiming control over his name and image. The revelations surrounding his adoption and the alleged financial disparities shed light on the complexities behind the heartwarming story portrayed in “The Blind Side.”

Oher’s case serves as a reminder that the truth can sometimes be far different from the narrative portrayed in movies and media. It highlights the importance of transparency, fairness, and open communication in adoption and conservatorship processes. As the legal proceedings unfold, the impact of Oher’s lawsuit may extend beyond his personal story, prompting a reevaluation of the systems that govern such arrangements.


The shocking revelation surrounding Michael Oher’s adoption has sent shockwaves through the public. The ex-NFL player’s allegations against the Tuohy family have raised questions about the authenticity of the heartwarming story depicted in “The Blind Side.” As the legal battle unfolds, the truth behind Oher’s adoption and the financial gains made by the Tuohys will be brought to light. The case serves as a reminder of the importance of honesty and fairness in adoption and conservatorship processes, as well as the need for individuals to have control over their own lives and financial matters.


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