Lawyers representing Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy have pushed back on claims that they misled former NFL player Michael Oher — whose story was the inspiration for the 2009 film The Blind Side — about his adoption.
On Monday, Oher, now 37, filed a petition in a Tennessee probate court accusing the couple of lying to him by convincing him to sign papers that made them his conservators rather than adoptive parents nearly two decades ago. “At no point did the Tuohys inform Michael that they would have ultimate control of all his contracts, and as a result Michael did not understand that if the Conservatorship was granted, he was signing away his right to contract for himself,” the petition reads.
Oher has also accused the Tuohy family of withholding profits from the movie and has demanded a multi-million-dollar payment, with interest.
On Tuesday, lawyers representing Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy rejected Oher’s claims and accused him of attempting a “shakedown” before announcing legal action. “Over the years, the Tuohys have given Mr. Oher an equal cut of every penny received from ‘The Blind Side,’” attorney Martin Singer told TMZ Sports.
“Even recently, when Mr. Oher started to threaten them about what he would do unless they paid him an eight-figure windfall, and, as part of that shakedown effort refused to cash the small profit checks from the Tuohys, they still deposited Mr. Oher’s equal share into a trust account they set up for his son.”
Singer also alleged that Oher had been dropped by multiple attorneys, but “has finally found a willing enabler and filed this ludicrous lawsuit as a cynical attempt to drum up attention in the middle of his latest book tour.”
The attorney also addressed allegations that through the conservatorship, the Tuohys made millions off the film while refusing to pay Oher. Singer denied the allegations, stating that the family only “received a small advance from the production company and a tiny percentage of net profits.”
Singer stated that the Tuohys had no reason to scam the former NFL player as they had already made millions of dollars through their lucrative fast-food restaurant chain. The couple reportedly netted roughly 213 million through their franchising ventures. “The notion that a couple worth hundreds of millions of dollars would connive to withhold a few thousand dollars in profit participation payments from anyone — let alone from someone they loved as a son — defies belief,” Singer told TMZ Sports.
Oher played in a total of eight NFL seasons after being drafted in the first round in 2009. He last played in the NFL in 2016.