Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, perhaps most widely known for their portrayal in the film “The Blind Side”, have stated their readiness to dissolve their conservatorship over former National Football League player Michael Oher. This follows recent court proceedings in Tennessee, where Oher petitioned to bring a close to the Tuohys’ conservatorship over him.
The star athlete, in his petition, alleged that the couple had previously promised to adopt him. However, they chose to instead establish a conservatorship, thereby preventing him from acquiring millions of dollars, as was earlier reported by major news outlets.
Addressing Oher’s accusations in their formal response, the Tuohys refuted his claim that they were financially gaining from his circumstance. They also underscored that Oher has neither verbally nor in written words communicated his wish to terminate the conservatorship, asserting they have always sought Oher’s best interest.
Oher’s life underwent a significant shift in 1996 when, aged just short of eleven, he was named a ward of Tennessee. Soon thereafter, homelessness became a reality for him. The slightest glimmer of hope noticed in a school Oher was directed to by a friend’s father, where he initiated his footballing career. Periodic stays with the Tuohys commenced in the summer that followed his junior year.
Oher contends that, upon moving in with the Tuohys in 2004, he was handed legal documents that he believed signified his adoption by the family. In contrast, the Tuohys denied having such an intention to legally adopt Oher. According to them, they sought conservatorship as an avenue for Oher to participate in college football, especially when the NCAA specified that Oher’s attendance at Ole Miss was linked to his being part of the Tuohy family to some extent.
The Tuohys express that the claim of Oher learning about his non-adoption only in 2023 is patently false. Citing Oher’s autobiographical work, “I Beat the Odds”, published in 2011, they point out his explicit acknowledgment of them as his conservators, not adoptive parents. The Tuohys challenged Oher’s assertion that they introduced themselves in public as his adoptive parents for their personal benefit, clarifying that their labeling of Oher as their son was meant in a nonlegal, conventional sense.
The story of Michael Oher partially unfolded in Michael Lewis’s 2006 book “The Blind Side: Evolution of the Game” which, three years later, transformed into a critically acclaimed movie. The Tuohys shared that the revenue from the film was equitably divided among themselves, their two biological children, and Oher. They stated that even though Oher’s share was paid to them, and they bore the tax burden for a period, they eventually provided Oher with his full 20% share.
Don Barrett, Oher’s legal representative, confirmed the Tuohys’ response to the filed petition and expressed eagerness for Oher to have his opportunity in court where he believes the truth will prevail.