A judge ruled that the former NFL star Michael Oher, whose adoption story inspired the movie “The Blind Side,”is no longer tied to his conservatorship with Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy.
A Tennessee judge said on Friday that the agreement reached in 2004 that allowed the Tuohys to control Mr Oher’s finances is now terminated. The former NFL star signed the agreement when he was 18, the Associated Press reported.
The decision comes after Mr Oher alleged that the adoption story behind the blockbuster was a lie — and that the Tuohy family made millions from his name.
A petition filed in probate court in Shelby County, Tennessee, claimed that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy never actually adopted him. Mr Oher has asked the court to end the conservatorship and to ban them from using his name and likeness. He also wants a full accounting of the money the family made using his name and to be paid a fair share of the profits.
The judge said she was astonished that this conservatorship agreement was ever established with someone who was not disabled. She said: “I cannot believe it got done.”
“Since at least August of 2004, Conservators have allowed Michael, specifically, and the public, generally, to believe that Conservators adopted Michael and have used that untruth to gain financial advantages for themselves and the foundations which they own or which they exercise control,” the petition stated. However, Mr Oher reportedly found out he was not legally adopted in February.
“Michael Oher discovered this lie to his chagrin and embarrassment in February of 2023, when he learned that the Conservatorship to which he consented on the basis that doing so would make him a member of the Tuohy family, in fact provided him no familial relationship with the Tuohys,” the documents said.
“Mike didn’t grow up with a stable family life,”his lawyer previously said. “When the Tuohy family told Mike they loved him and wanted to adopt him, it filled a void that had been with him his entire life. Discovering that he wasn’t actually adopted devastated Mike and wounded him deeply.”
According to court documents, the couple used their position as conservators to agree to a deal that saw them and their two biological children paid for the Oscar-winning film, which starred Sandra Bullock and made more than $300m.
The lawsuit states that the Tuohys and their two birth children were each paid $225,000, plus 2.5 per cent of the film’s “defined net proceeds.”
“The lie of Michael’s adoption is one upon which Co-Conservators Leigh Anne Tuohy and Sean Tuohy have enriched themselves at the expense of their Ward, the undersigned Michael Oher,” court papers state.
Last week, the couple admitted “that they never intended to, and in fact never did, take any action to assume legal custody through the Juvenile Court of Shelby County.”