Former NFL star Michael Oher, the subject of the book and movie “The Blind Side,” alleges that the couple who took him in as a teenager misled him into believing they were adopting him — and that they instead placed him in a conservatorship, according to a court filing Monday.
“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,” said the petition to terminate the conservatorship in Shelby County Court in Tennessee.
The story of Oher and the Tuohy family became the subject of an Oscar-winning film, “The Blind Side,” starring Sandra Bullock in the role of Leigh Anne Tuohy. The film, based on the Michael Lewis book of the same name, chronicled Oher’s life as a homeless child through his college football career and eventual NFL stardom.
The Tuohys negotiated a deal with 20th Century Fox that left Oher without any payment for the rights to his name, likeness and life story, while the Tuohy family received a contract price of $225,000 and 2.5% of the film’s net proceeds, the petition states.
The film has grossed over $300 million, the petition says. A $200,000 donation was also made to Leigh Anne Tuohy’s charitable foundation.
The petition said Oher made no money off the film, which was released after he completed his college career and would not have affected his NCAA eligibility.
According to the petition, Oher does not recall signing the agreement for the rights to his life story. The document has a signature that appears to be his, but “nobody ever presented this document to him with any explanation,” the filing says.
The petition accuses the Tuohys of a breach of their fiduciary duty as conservators “so gross and appalling that they should be sanctioned by this court.”