Who are Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy? What have Michael Oher's 'guardians' said about conservatorship claims?
The Tuohy's relationship with NFL star Michael Oher was the focus of hit drama film The Blind Side
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The story of the Tuohys and Oher, whom they took in when he was a homeless teen, was made into the hit 2009 drama film The Blind Side, which won Sandra Bullock her first, and so far only, Oscar for Best Actress.
However, the film has long been a subject of controversy, with many claiming that it presents an uncomfortable white saviour narrative.
Now the Tuohys are getting more heat as Oher has come out against them with his latest claims. The wealthy couple how since responded to Oher's allegations through their own attorney.
Who is Leigh Anne Tuohy?
Leigh Anne Tuohy is an American businesswoman and interior designer who is most well known for being the guardian of American football star Michael Oher - their story is the focus of 2006 book The Blind Side and the 2009 movie adaptation starring Sandra Bullock as Leigh.
Leigh Anne met her husband Sean at the University of Mississippi. She and her husband made their fortune through a string of fast food franchises, at their height they owned 115 sites, but by 2020 had sold more than 100 of them in six major deals,
She and her husband co-wrote the book In A Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving, about their experience taking in Michael Oher and how the decision changed their own lives, as well as his own.
Who is Sean Tuohy?
Sean is a former professional basketball player and entrepreneur - he led the Ole Miss Rebels to their first SEC men's basketball tournament championship in 1981. He became the fourth basketball player chosen to the Ole Miss Sports Hall of Fame.
Since 2001 he worked as a broadcaster for Memphis Grizzlies basketball team and has also worked as a sports reporter on the radio.
Sean and Leigh Anne are believed to have adopted Michael Oher when he was 17 years old and homeless - it has since been claimed that he was placed under a conservatorship rather than adopted. Oher became a professional NFL player and won his first superbowl in 2013, with Sean and Leigh cheering from the sidelines.
However, Oher is believed to have been estranged from Sean and Leigh Anne for around a decade and this month claimed that he had been tricked into entering a conservatorship with them.
What is the Tuohy’s net worth?
Various estimates have been made of Leigh Anne and Sean’s combined net worth, ranging from $75 to $100 million. The Daily Mail reported that in 2022 Leigh Anne was worth $50 million whilst Sean was worth $25 million. Michael Oher is estimated to be worth around $16 million.
Most of their wealth is believed to have derived from their fast food empire. The pair are believed to have made between $200,000 and $450,000 from The Blind Side movie, whilst Oher is estimated to have made between $100,000 and $225,000 from it.
What have the Tuohys said about Michael Oher’s conservatorship claims?
Michael Oher launched a petition to end his conservatorship with the Tuohys and claims that they enriched themselves at his expense.
An attorney for the Tuohys responded, stating: “The idea that the family ever sought to profit off Mr. Oher is not only offensive, it is transparently ridiculous.”
Sean said that they sought a conservatorship because they could not legally adopt Michael as he was then over the age of 18. However, in his and Leigh’s book In a Heartbeat they never use the word ‘conservatorship’, instead referring to adoption.
Sean said that they wanted to make Oher officially a part of the family so that he would be able to play for Ole Miss. He added that, despite the petition, ‘we are going to keep loving Michael.’