On Monday, Michael Oher, the former NFL player made famous by the Hollywood movie The Blind Side, revealed a lawsuit against his patrons, the Tuohy family, alleging they abused their power over his finances and robbed him of an untold amount of money. Now, the Tuohy family is responding to those claims.
Oher was a standout player for a private high school in Memphis, Tennessee, in the early 2000s, but his home life was difficult. To help out, the Tuohy family took him in. Eventually they told him they wanted to adopt him into their family and were there to support him as he finished high school, went to college, and then joined the NFL. Their heartwarming story became a major motion picture in 2009, starring Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy, a role that won Bullock several major film industry awards.
As Breitbart Sports reported on Monday, the former NFL player, though, now says that the Tuohy family took money that was rightfully his and misled him about adopting him into the family.
Tuohy family patriarch, Steve Tuohy, has responded to Oher’s accusations, saying, “We’re devastated.”
On Monday, Tuohy told the Daily Memphian that he and his wife deny the allegations Oher has made in his lawsuit.
“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,” Tuohy added.
Tuohy also explained that the reason they initiated the conservatorship was because Tennessee does not permit adoptions after a person’s 18th birthday, and Oher was already past that age when the family began talking about adoption as a provision of getting him into Ole Miss.
“Michael was obviously living with us for a long time, and the NCAA didn’t like that,” Tuohy told the paper “They said the only way Michael could go to Ole Miss was if he was actually part of the family. I sat Michael down and told him, ‘If you’re planning to go to Ole Miss — or even considering Ole Miss — we think you have to be part of the family. This would do that, legally.’ We contacted lawyers who had told us that we couldn’t adopt over the age of 18. The only thing we could do was to have a conservatorship. We were so concerned it was on the up-and-up that we made sure the biological mother came to court.”
Tuohy also said that he and his wife would be perfectly happy to end the conservatorship if that is what Oher wanted. Tuohy did not explain why they still had an active conservatorship with Oher being a 37-year-old man today.
Tuohy also maintains that they really didn’t make much money from the hit movie about their lives.
“We didn’t make any money off the movie,” Tuohy insisted. “Well, Michael Lewis (the author of the book ‘The Blind Side’) gave us half of his share. Everybody in the family got an equal share, including Michael. It was about $14,000, each.
“We were never offered money. We never asked for money. My money is well-documented. You can look up how much I sold my company for,” he said.
“I will say it’s upsetting that people would think I would want to make money off any of my children,” Tuohy added.
Tuohy also noted that he sold his fast food franchises for $200 million, so he does not need to get money from the 2009 movie.