‘The Blind Side’ subject Michael Oher to take adopted family to court over claims of false conservatorship

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The former NFL player believes that what he thought were adoption papers were in fact conservatorship forms

Former American football star Michael Oher, whose life story was depicted in the Oscar-winning film "The Blind Side," has alleged that the movie's narrative is based on falsehoods and claims that he was never adopted by a wealthy white couple as portrayed in the film but was instead tricked into a conservatorship

In a 26-page petition filed in probate court in Shelby County, Tennessee yesterday (August 15 2023), Oher contends that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, the couple who became his legal guardians in the movie, used his name to make millions of dollars, with the filing stating that he was coerced into making the Tuohys his conservators when he turned 18, despite having no diagnosed disabilities. That conservatorship allegedly gave the Tuohys full control over his personal and financial affairs, limiting his ability to negotiate contracts.

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The court documents state that the Tuohys exploited Oher's athletic potential for their own gain and the couple led him to believe they were legally adopting him, even presenting him with what he thought was adoption paperwork, but instead were forms regarding a conservatorship of the athlete. 

The lawsuit also alleges that the Tuohys benefited financially from Oher's success as a college athlete and his life story's adaptation into a book and movie; the contract negotiated by the co-conservators reportedly granted profits and royalties to the Tuohys and their biological children while leaving nothing for Oher. "The Blind Side" achieved significant box office success and earned actress Sandra Bullock the “Best Actress” Oscar at the 82nd Academy Awards.

The film's release coincided with Oher's entry into the National Football League (NFL) in 2009, where he played for eight seasons, primarily with the Baltimore Ravens. Oher has previously expressed discontent with how the film's portrayal of him as mentally slow affected his career.  

The legal action seeks to terminate the conservatorship, prevent the Tuohys from profiting from Oher's name and likeness, and demand a full accounting of what he is owed. The lawsuit accuses the Tuohys of a breach of fiduciary duty. 

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What is Michael Oher’s net worth?

As of 2023, Michael Oher’s net worth is estimated to be $16 million USD (source: ESPN) based on his post-NFL investments and endorsements. 

In contrast, “The Blind Side” earned $300 million USD globally upon completion of its theatrical run.

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