Sean Tuohy Jr., the son of the family featured in the 2009 film The Blind Side, spoke out Monday after former NFL star and the film’s subject Michael Oher alleged in a court filing that the Tuohy family never legally adopted him.
He claim that they tricked him into a conservatorship and profited millions by publicizing a falsified version of his life story.
“I completely understand,” Tuohy Jr. said in an interview with Barstool Sports when asked about why Michael Oher is upset. But he vigorously rebutted Oher’s allegation that he and his family made “$2 million” off the film.
“Man, if I had $2 million in my bank account, it would be in my email signature and say, ‘Signed, SJ Tuohy, multi-millionaire,’ ” said Tuohy, adding that friends were sending him links to articles and “roasting” him in a group chat.
“Somebody clearly is making a ton of the money off that movie, and he’s not seeing any of it — listen, if someone made a movie that I thought was about me, and I see it sold $300 million [at the] box office and I don’t see anything, I could see how that would upset me,” Dave Portnoy, the founder and owner of the popular sports blog, said during the discussion.
The film is based on a 2006 book of the same name which told the Tuohys’ story of how the family took in Oher, 37, at a time when he was struggling with homelessness, then adopted him and helped him through high school, college and his eventual NFL career.
Oher alleges in his petition, obtained by PEOPLE, that Tuohy Jr.’s parents, Leigh Anne and Sean, lied about adopting him and instead had Oher unwittingly sign legal papers that made them his conservators.
“Michael trusted the Tuohys and signed where they told him to sign,” the petition alleged of the 2004 deal. “What he signed, however, and unknown to Michael until after February 2023, were not adoption papers, or the equivalent of adoption papers.”
Tuohy Jr. asserted that the main reason he chose to do the interview with Barstool Sports was because he read reports claiming his family made “$2 million” from the movie and says that the stories were inaccurate.
“I get it, why he’s mad. I completely understand,” Tuohy Jr. continued. “It stinks that it’ll play out on a very public stage,” he added of the high-profile story.
At the time of what he believed to be an adoption, Oher had “no known physical or psychological disabilities” that would require him to be subjected to a conservatorship, according to his petition.
Almost 20 years later, Leigh Anne and Sean still “have all powers of attorney to act on” the former Baltimore Ravens star’s behalf, according to the legal petition. The conservatorship papers, signed in 2004, say Oher “shall not be allowed to enter into any contracts or bind himself without the direct approval of his conservators.”
The inspiring story of the impoverished high school athlete who came from a family of 12, had a mother who was battling addiction, being adopted and going on to play for the NFL earned Sandra Bullock the Oscar for Best Actress for her portrayal of Leigh Anne at the 82nd Academy Awards.
“Where other parents of Michael’s classmates saw Michael simply as a nice kid in need, Conservators Sean Tuohy and Leigh Anne Tuohy saw something else: a gullible young man whose athletic talent could be exploited for their own benefit,” the petition alleges.
This whole story is shocking.
“If someone made a movie that I thought was about me and I see it sold $300M box office and I didn’t see anything, I see how that would upset me” –@stoolpresidente on the Michael Oher situation@BarstoolRadio pic.twitter.com/jETjFKHaC0
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) August 14, 2023