Michael Oher accused the Tuohy family of enriching themselves using his life story after tricking him into signing a conservatorship. But Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy say Oher’s accusations are false and nothing but a previous threat-come-through.
Though they’ve said they’re willing to end the conservatorship, the couple is also making sure to clear their name. Their lawyer, Martin Singer, outlined the Tuohys’ rebuttals against Michael’s lawsuit in a statement to Entertainment Tonight.
Beyond feeling “devastated,” as Sean told The Daily Memphian on Monday (Aug. 14), the Tuohy family alleges the lawsuit is part of Michael’s previous shakedown efforts.
“In reality, the Tuohys opened their home to Mr. Oher, offered him structure, support, and, most of all, unconditional love. They have consistently treated him like a son and one of their three children,” Singer told ET. “His response was to threaten them, including saying that he would plant a negative story about them in the press unless they paid him $15 million.”
Michael Oher Accuses Tuohys Of Solely Profiting From His Story, Family Says Claims Are ‘Absurd’ & ‘Outlandish’
As previously reported, Michael Oher filed the 14-page petition against the Tuohys on Monday (Aug. 14). The legal filing says, in February, the former NFL player discovered his conservatorship did not “make him a member of the Tuohy family” as he believed it would.
Additionally, Oher claims he obtained “The Blind Side” contracts that allegedly promised 2.5% of defined net proceeds from the film and $225,000 for Sean, Leigh Anne, and their two biological children.
Meanwhile, Michael Oher claims he didn’t receive any money from the film. He alleges he signed the conservatorship papers in 2004 at 18, believing it was similar to adoption. At the time, he reportedly had no “known physical or psychological disabilities,” a usual factor in establishing conservatorships.
On Monday, Sean Tuohy told The Daily Memphian the conservatorship was a means-to-an-end to get Michael Oher into the University of Mississippi with him as a “booster.” He revealed his family, including his wife and their two biological children, and Oher made about $14,000 each from the film. His lawyer Martin Singer is now adding context to the alleged coins collected.
“Anyone with a modicum of common sense can see that the outlandish claims made by Michael Oher about the Tuohy family are hurtful and absurd. The idea that the Tuohys have ever sought to profit off Mr. Oher is not only offensive, it is transparently ridiculous. Through hard work and good fortune, Sean and Leigh Anne have made an extraordinary amount of money in the restaurant business. The notion that a couple worth hundreds of millions of dollars would connive to withhold a few thousand dollars in profit participation payments from anyone, let alone from someone they loved as a son, defies belief.”
And Martin Singer insists there’s evidence that Michael Oher was paid after Michael Lewis received an offer to turn The Blind Side book into a movie. Martin claims Michael’s lawyers negotiated an advance and “a tiny percentage of net profits” from the production company.
The Tuohys say that Michael is the one who has refused to cash the received checks. Instead, they claim he’s seeking a much bigger payout.
“The evidence — documented in profit participation checks and studio accounting statements – is clear: over the years, the Tuohys have given Mr. Oher an equal cut of every penny received from “The Blind Side.” Even recently, when Mr. Oher started to threaten them about what he would do unless they paid him an eight-figure windfall, and, as part of that shakedown effort refused to cash the small profit checks from the Tuohys, they still deposited Mr. Oher’s equal share into a trust account they set up for his son.”
Michael Oher married boutique owner Tiffany Roy in November 2022 after almost 20 years together, per The Daily Mail. They share four children, sons Kobi and MJ and daughters Kierstin and Naivi. It’s unclear which son the Tuohys allegedly set up the trust account for.
Another lawyer for the family, Steve Farese Sr., also spoke about the lawsuit on NewsNation’s Cuomo. Steve said Michael Oher received an equal distribution because that’s what the family agreed on in a meeting.
“And you have to understand, Chris, this story wasn’t just about Michael Oher. This story was about a family, about a brother, about a sister, about a mother, about a father. All of them sacrificed for Michael,” Steve said. Adding, “When the proof comes out, everyone will see the truth. You know, numbers don’t lie, paper trails don’t lie. And when the proper time comes, and we present the truth, I think it will be evident to everyone of what’s going on here.”
Tuohys Say “Not One Penny Was Received” From Conservatorship
As previously reported, the Tuohys’ biological son, Sean Jr., recently disputed that he made millions in profit from “The Blind Side” or his parents’ conservators status.
“If someone made a movie that I thought was about me and I see it sold $300M box office and I didn’t see anything, I see how that would upset me” –@stoolpresidente on the Michael Oher situation@BarstoolRadio pic.twitter.com/jETjFKHaC0
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) August 14, 2023
Meanwhile, via their lawyer, Sean and Leigh Anne say Michael got an “upfront” rundown about the conservatorship. They again denied it was to enrich themselves, instead saying it was to cover his needs at the time. Those needs allegedly included obtaining health insurance, a driver’s license, and college admissions.
But the conservatorship docs reportedly grant Sean and Leigh Anne “all powers of attorney to act on his behalf.” Furthermore, Oher is not “allowed to enter into any contracts or bind himself without the direct approval of his conservators.”
In the statement via Singer, they claim this lawsuit is Michael’s way of gaining press attention for his new book “When Your Back’s Against the Wall.”
“Should Mr. Oher wish to terminate the conservatorship, either now or at any time in the future, the Tuohys will never oppose it in any way. Unbeknownst to the public, Mr. Oher has actually attempted to run this play several times before, but it seems that numerous other lawyers stopped representing him once they saw the evidence and learned the truth. Sadly, Mr. Oher has finally found a willing enabler and filed this ludicrous lawsuit as a cynical attempt to drum up attention in the middle of his latest book tour.”
Martin’s statement adds that the Tuohys are “heartbroken” and hoping to reconcile with Oher one day. In the meantime, the family plans to “defend their good names, stand up to this shakedown and defeat this offensive lawsuit.”