Michael Oher, the ex-NFL star whose story inspired the Oscar-winning film “The Blind Side,” allegedly asked his adoptive family for $15 million not to go public with claims they swindled him, according to the family’s attorney.
Oher, who played nearly a decade in the NFL, has alleged financial abuse on the part of the Tuohys. According to a lawsuit filed by Oher in Tennessee, the family never adopted him. Instead, he claims he was tricked into signing a conservatorship three months after he turned 18. The lawsuit further alleges that Oher has never seen any of the profits from the work that his life story became. This is due to the conservatorship granting the Tuohy family full financial control of him.
Additionally, Oher claims that the Tuohys used fictionalized reports of intellectual disability on Oher’s part to justify their conservatorship. This is despite first meeting Oher while he was attending an elite Memphis private school. Oher is seeking an end to the conservatorship. He alleges that the agreement was pitched to him as being “basically the same as an adoption.” Furthermore, he is seeking well as financial restitution and an injunction to stop the Tuohy family profiting from his name and likeness. The Tuohy family have since made some bombshell claims of their own in retaliation.
In a statement issued by family attorney Martin Singer, the Tuohys have claimed that the lawsuit comes after a “shakedown” on the part of Oher. “In reality, the Tuohys opened their home to Mr. Oher, offered him structure, support and, most of all, unconditional love,” Singer’s statement said. “They have consistently treated him like a son and one of their three children. His response was to threaten them, including saying that he would plant a negative story about them in the press unless they paid him $15 million.”
“They insisted that any money received be divided equally. And they have made good on that pledge,” the statement continued. “The evidence — documented in profit participation checks and studio accounting statements — is clear: over the years. The Tuohys have given Mr. Oher an equal cut of every penny received from The Blind Side. Even recently, when Mr. Oher started to threaten them about what he would do unless they paid him an eight-figure windfall, and, as part of that shakedown effort refused to cash the small profit checks from the Tuohys, they still deposited Mr. Oher’s equal share into a trust account they set up for his son.” It is worth noting that if Oher’s claims are true, the conservatorship would prevent him from freely accessing that account.