MEMPHIS, Tenn — Retired NFL star Michael Oher is claiming his adoption by a wealthy white Memphis family is a lie, according to a petition filed in the Shelby County Probate Court.
The adoption and Oher's rise out of poverty and to the NFL were told in the 2009 move ‘The Blind Side’ starring Sandra Bullock. He went on to play for the Ole Miss Rebels then the Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, and Tennessee Titans.
The petition alleges Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy never adopted Oher and tricked him into signing a document that made him his conservators, giving them legal authority over his business dealings.
ABC24 can confirm there was a petition for conservatorship filed by the Tuohys for Oher on December 7, 2004. Oher had just turned 18 that May.
Oher had said in his 2011 memoir ‘I Beat the Odds’ that the Tuohys told him adoption and conservatorship were “pretty much the exact same thing,” with the law just taking his age not account.
The petition said Oher learned that he was not adopted in February 2023, when he learned the conservatorship did not actually make him a legal family member, which he had believed.
The petition claims the Tuohys struck a deal that paid them and their birth children millions of dollars from royalties from the Academy Award-winning film. Oher claims he got nothing from the movie deal.
In addition, the petition outlines a 2007 contract signed by Oher appears to ‘give away’ the rights to his life story without payment. They said the new court filing claims Oher has no recollection of signing that contract, or anyone explaining what it would mean to him.
The Tuohys have continued to tell the story of Oher’s adoption through the years.
Oher is asking the court to end the conservatorship and bar the Tuohy’s from using his name or likeness. He is also asking for a ‘fair share of the profits,’ and damages.
We reached out to the Tuohy family for comment, but they did not initially return our calls. They responded Tuesday with a statement, calling the claims a "shakedown." Read HERE.
In a statement released after news of the petition on Monday, Oher said, "I am disheartened by the revelation shared in the lawsuit today. This is a difficult situation for my family and me. I want to ask everyone to please respect our privacy at this time. For now, I will let the lawsuit speak for itself and will offer no further comment."
Oher was the 23rd overall pick in the 2009 draft out of Mississippi, and he spent his first five seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. He wound up playing eight NFL seasons, including 2014 when he started 11 games for the Tennessee Titans. Oher finished his career with two years in Carolina.
He started 110 career games and won a Super Bowl with the Ravens. He also finished second in the voting to Percy Harvin of Minnesota for The Associated Press NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year after starting all 16 games his first season at right tackle.
Oher, who turned 37 in May, last played in the NFL in 2016 before being released in 2017 by Carolina.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
In a statement to the Daily Memphian, Sean Tuohy says:
“We’re devastated. It’s upsetting to think we would make money off any of our children. But we’re going to love Michael at 37 just like we loved him at 16.”