Blind Side Couple Denies Allegations

Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy say Michael Oher tried to get $15M from them before filing suit
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2023 12:00 AM CDT
Blind Side Couple Says Lawsuit Is a 'Shakedown'
FILE - Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy stand on a street in New Orleans, Feb. 1, 2013.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

The Tennessee couple depicted by Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw in the 2009 film The Blind Side are speaking out after the lawsuit filed against them by their supposedly adopted son, former NFL player Michael Oher. Oher now says he found out years down the line that he was never actually adopted but was rather placed in a conservatorship—and that proceeds from the story of his life were kept from him by the couple he believed to be his adoptive parents. Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, however, say through a lawyer that "the idea that the family ever sought to profit off Mr. Oher is not only offensive, it is transparently ridiculous." They claim it is actually Oher who is trying to profit off them, accusing him of a "shakedown" in which he tried to get $15 million from them, the Guardian reports.

Their attorney says Oher threatened to "plant a negative story about them in the press unless they paid him" that amount, and also insists the Tuohys always gave Oher "an equal cut of every penny received from the Blind Side." (Which, the family claims, was just thousands, not millions, of dollars.) Sean Tuohy himself previously spoke to the Daily Memphian, telling the newspaper that as far as the conservatorship is concerned, that was only put in place so that Oher could attend Ole Miss, where Tuohy had himself played football, as "part of the family." The Tuohys' son also spoke out, telling Barstool Sports that he understands why Oher is "mad," but supporting his parents' claim that no one in his family made millions off the Blind Side, the Tennessean reports.

Another point Oher made in his lawsuit, and which he's spoken out about previously, is the fact that the film depicted him as having intellectual difficulties, which is not true. "People look at me, and they take things away from me because of a movie," Oher told ESPN in 2015. "They don't really see the skills and the kind of player I am." At MSNBC, Robyn Autry writes that one thing is clear: the movie got it wrong. "It's unclear at this point if the 37-year-old Oher's case against the Tuohys has merit, but nothing's unclear about the 2009 movie that catapulted Oher and the Tuohys into fame. It was typical, Hollywood white savior nonsense that, unsurprisingly, made hundreds of millions of dollars." See her full piece here. (More Michael Oher stories.)

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