Michael Oher made headlines last month when he filed suit against the family that took him in as a teenager to end the conservatorship agreement that had been in place for nearly 20 years.
In the suit, Oher alleged that the family, the Tuohys, had not distributed his share of the money earned from the movie depicting their life together, The Blind Side, and he asserted that the Tuohy family had never intended to adopt him.
In a filing obtained by the Associated Press, the Tuohys admit that they never intended to adopt him and that despite the fact they referred to him as their son, they meant that only “in the colloquial sense and they have never intended that reference to be viewed with legal implication.”
Last month, Sean Tuohy claimed that attorneys told him he couldn’t adopt Oher because Oher was over 18. It has since been learned that that statement is inaccurate under Tennessee law. It is perfectly legal to adopt someone even over the age of 18 under state law.
Why didn’t the Tuohy’s adopt him? Why did they enter into the conservatorship?
According to the Tuohy’s filing, the NCAA required Oher to be a part of the family “in some fashion” for him to go to Ole Miss, where Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy are boosters.
“When it became clear that the [Oher] could not consider going to the University of Mississippi . . . as a result of living with the [Tuohys], the NCAA made it clear that he could attend Ole Miss if he were part of the Tuohy family in some fashion.”
The Tuohy family was granted a conservatorship over Oher. Even though, under Tennessee law, a conservatorship is usually reserved for cases when someone is physically or mentally incapable of caring for themselves.
Oher claims that he was unaware he hadn’t been adopted. However, the Tuohys state that in his book released in 2011, Oher stated that he knew the Tuohys had not adopted him and that only a conservatorship was in place.
The Tuohy family continues to deny the allegation that they steered funds away from Oher.
“Agents negotiated a small advance for the Tuohys from the production company for “The Blind Side,” based on a book written by Sean Tuohy’s friend Michael Lewis, the couple’s lawyers have said,” the Associated Press reports. “That included “a tiny percentage of net profits” divided equally among a group that included Oher, they said.
The attorneys said they estimated each of the Tuohys and Oher received $100,000 apiece, and the couple paid taxes on Oher’s portion for him.
The Tuohys’ filing said they never signed any pro football contracts for Oher, and he was happy with their financial arrangements from “The Blind Side.”
Oher played eight years in the NFL and won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens in 2013.