Michael Oher had previously called the Tuohys his “legal conservators” in his 2011 book I Beat The Odds: From Homelessness To The Blind Side And Beyond. While the former NFL star, 37, claimed that he’d only learned of the conservatorship in February 2023 in his legal petition, he did call Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy his conservators in a section of the book where he speaks about his relationship with the family.
While Michael said that he’d been a part of the family for a year at that point, he explained the legal reasoning for the conservatorship rather than adoption. “Since I was already over the age of eighteen and considered an adult by the state of Tennessee, Sean and Leigh Anne would be named as my ‘legal conservators,'” he wrote, per TMZ. “They explained to me that it means pretty much the exact same thing as ‘adoptive parents,’ but that the laws were just written in a way that took my age into account. Honestly, I didn’t care what it was called. I was just happy that no one could argue that we weren’t legally what we already knew was real: We were a family.”
The book’s mention of the conservatorship does contradict Michael’s claim in the legal petition that he only just learned of it earlier this year. “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 filing said, per ESPN.
Michael’s legal filing claimed that he didn’t make money from The Blind Side, and that he was never legally adopted by the Tuohys. The petition requested him to be removed from the conservatorship and to place an injunction on the family using his name. He’s also asking for compensatory and punitive damages.
After the petition was reported, Sean released a statement to The Daily Memphian, where he said that he was “devastated,” and claimed that family didn’t make money from the movie. Additionally, he said that they signed conservatorship documents to help him go to Ole Miss. “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,” he said.
Michael also released his own statement to The New York Post. “I am disheartened by the revelation shared in the lawsuit today,” he said. “This is a difficult situation for my family and me. I want to ask everyone to please respect our privacy at this time. For now, I will let the lawsuit speak for itself and will offer no further comment.”