‘Blind Side’ dispute: Tuohys say they did not claim they would adopt Michael Oher

Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy said in a court filing Thursday that they did not make money off former NFL star Michael Oher’s name nor had they ever intended to adopt him.

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Oher, who the Tuohys took into their home when he was a high school student, alleged in a court filing on Aug. 14 that the family had cut him out of the profits of the hit movie “The Blind Side,” which depicted his life story.

Oher, 39, said in the filing that the family had said they would adopt him but instead had placed him in a conservatorship and had taken money the movie earned and kept it for themselves.

He requested that the court end the conservatorship that started in 2004 when he was 18.

The Tuohys said they are “ready, willing, and able to terminate the conservatorship by consent at any time,” Thursday’s filing said.

In the filing, the couple “vehemently” denies Oher’s claim that they saw him as a “gullible young man whose athletic talent could be exploited for their own benefit.”

Oher had claimed that he did not know about the conservatorship but believed that the Tuohys were planning to adopt him. He also claimed that he only learned in February that he had been placed in a conservatorship and hadn’t actually been adopted.

The Tuohy’s said the claim Oher didn’t know about the conservatorship was “demonstratively false,” citing Oher’s 2011 memoir “I Beat The Odds,” where Oher indicates he was aware the Tuohy’s were appointed as conservators.

The Tuohys considered Oher part of their family, and over time he referred to them as “mom” and “dad,” and they referred to him as “son,” according to the filing, but they said they had not intended to formally adopt Oher.

“Clearly, the Respondents (The Tuohy’s) loved the Petitioner and as a result provided him with shelter, food, and clothing and in fact bought him more than one vehicle for his personal use,” the filing said. “In fact, they have always felt that the Petitioner was like a son and have used that on occasion but not in a legal sense.”

According to the Tuohy’s they did not have “ultimate control of his contracts” and said they never signed any contract for him when it came to his career.

Oher claimed in his petition that the Tuohys had contract negotiations with 20th Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios) regarding the creation of “The Blind Side” movie, based on the book “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game” by Michael Lewis. The Tuohy’s denied that claim.

The production company that financed the movie “The Blind Side” said that its subjects, Michael Oher and members of the Tuohy family, were collectively paid approximately $767,000 delivered through their talent.”

In addition to defending the film’s authenticity, Alcon Entertainment co-founders and co-CEOs Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove said the deal for the Tuohy’s and Michael Oher’s life rights “was consistent with the marketplace at that time for the rights of relatively unknown individuals.”

“Therefore, a statement from Alcon Entertainment said, “It did not include significant payouts in the event of the film’s success.” Johnson and Kosove added, “As a result, the notion that the Tuohys were paid millions of dollars by Alcon to the detriment of Michael Oher is false.”

Oher claimed that the Tuohys negotiated for themselves and their natural-born children a contract price of $225,000 plus 2.5% of all future “defined net proceeds.” The Tuohys denied the claim, saying they received a portion of the money paid to Michael Lewis, the book’s author, “which was something less than $225,000.”