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Tuohy family admits there was ‘never an intent to adopt’ ‘The Blind Side’ subject Michael Oher

By Brooke Villanueva Published Sep 17, 2023 11:24 am

The adoptive family of The Blind Side subject Michael Oher said they never intended to adopt the retired NFL player, just a month after he filed a lawsuit claiming that they tricked him into signing a document that assigned them as his conservators and made millions off of his name.

In court documents obtained by E! News on Sept. 15, Sean and Leign Anne Tuohy “vehemently denied” that they “saw [Michael] as a gullible young man whose athletic talent could be exploited for their own benefit."

"The [Tuohys] admit that they never intended to, and in fact never did, take any action to assume legal custody through the Juvenile Court of Shelby County, Tennessee,” the court documents read. 

The Tuohy family stressed in official records that there was “never an intent to adopt him”—they just opted to look into a conservatorship so that Oher could get into football during his college years. 

"When it became clear that [Michael] could not consider going to the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) as a result of living with the [Tuohys], the NCAA made it clear that the only way he could attend Ole Miss if he was part of the Tuohy family in some fashion," the documents read, adding that conservatorship was “the tool chosen to accomplish this goal." 

Oher grew up poor until the affluent Tuohy family “adopted” him, eventually leading to his life story's depiction in the 2009 movie starring Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, and Quinton Aaron.

In August this year, however, he claimed the Tuohys urged him to sign a conservatorship, thinking it was required in the adoption process.  

Conservatorship is an arrangement in which a court removes at least some "decision-making powers and duties" from "a person with a disability who lacks the capacity to make decisions in one or more important areas." 

A conservator (or co-conservators), then, gains those decision-making powers. The 2004 order that granted Oher’s conservatorship stated that he appeared to have “no known physical or psychological disabilities.” 

Oher also claimed that he unknowingly signed away the rights to his life story to 20th Century Fox in 2007. He also alleged he got nothing despite the movie earning over $300 million (P17 billion) worldwide.

He is now seeking the termination of his conservatorship on top of the money he says he should've earned from the movie and an injunction preventing the Tuohys from using his name and likeness.