Sean Tuohy and his family gained fame alongside former Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Michael Oher for their shared story depicted in “The Blind Side.”
In both the book and film, the Tuohy family is shown to have adopted Oher who would later become an All-American offensive lineman and Baltimore’s first-round pick in 2009. Things have changed drastically in the last fourteen years.
Oher filed a lawsuit that alleges that an official adoption never happened and that the Tuohys tricked him into signing documents that made them his conservators when he turned 18, allowing them to make business deals and decisions in his name. Oher claims that the Tuohys “exploited” him “for their own benefit” and “screwed him out of potentially millions of dollars.”
After hours of being ripped online, Sean Tuohy is now speaking out.
“We’re devastated,” Tuohy told Geoff Calkins of the Daily Memphian. “It’s upsetting to think we would make money off any of our children. But we’re going to love Michael at 37 just like we loved him at 16.”
Oher’s lawsuit alleges that the Tuohy family made millions off of his name while he got much of nothing back in return. Tuohy countered that Oher, as well as the rest of the family, was paid $14,000 for the film adaptation.
Tuohy further claims that the conservatorship was done in the name of helping Oher attend the University of Mississippi. Tuohy also said that, since Oher was over 18 at the time, the family was unable to legally adopt him.
“Michael was obviously living with us for a long time, and the NCAA didn’t like that,” Tuohy said. “They said the only way Michael could go to Ole Miss was if he was actually part of the family. I sat Michael down and told him, ‘If you’re planning to go to Ole Miss — or even considering Ole Miss — we think you have to be part of the family. This would do that, legally.’”
“We contacted lawyers who had told us that we couldn’t adopt over the age of 18; the only thing we could do was to have a conservatorship. We were so concerned it was on the up-and-up that we made sure the biological mother came to court.”
Tuohy said he is willing to end the conservatorship, calling the allegations “insulting” but seeking to honor Oher’s wishes. He further stated there had been some distance between his family and Oher for “a year and a half” but that he was blindsided by the lawsuit.
“It’s hard because you have to defend yourself, but whatever he wants, we’ll do,” Tuohy declared. “We’re not in this for anything other than whatever he wants. If he’d have said, ‘I don’t want to be part of the family anymore,’ we’d have been very upset, but we absolutely would have done it.”
“The Blind Side” film was released in 2009, months after the Ravens drafted him with the 23rd overall pick.
Oher played eight NFL seasons between Baltimore, Tennessee, and Carolina. He earned a Super Bowl ring as a starter on the Ravens.
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