Michael Oher was paid $138,000 for 'The Blind Side' movie and book, Touhy family court filing says

ByJamiel Lynch, CNN, CNNWire
Friday, November 10, 2023
Michael Oher paid over $100K for movie and book, court filing says
The Tuohy family argued in a court filing Michael Oher was paid over $138,000 from 'The Blind Side' film and book.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy say they paid Michael Oher more than $138,000 of proceeds from the blockbuster film and preceding book "The Blind Side," despite the former NFL player's claim that the couple never paid him his share of the profits, court documents say.

The video in the player above is from a previous report.

Oher, whose life story was depicted in the Oscar-winning movie, filed a petition in August claiming the Tuohys told him they were going to adopt him, but instead filed a conservatorship that kept millions of dollars from him, including his share of the film proceeds.

The Tuohys strongly denied Oher's claims they were enriching themselves at his expense, saying they have always acted in his best interest.

A Tennessee judge terminated the Tuohy's conservatorship over Oher in September, but several issues in his petition remained unresolved, including a request that the Tuohys provide a sworn account of the money that should have been paid to Oher.

ALSO SEE: 'The Blind Side' Tuohy family responds to Michael Oher's allegations, accuse him of $15M 'shakedown'

The Tuohys filed the financial statement in Shelby County, Tennessee, probate court on Wednesday, laying out a series of 10 payments totaling $138,311.01 made to Oher - and later his son - between 2007 and April of this year.

According to the Tuohy's attorney, Randy Fishman, the couple began putting Oher's payments in his son's name after Oher began returning checks to the Tuohys.

Fishman did not elaborate on the reason for the allegedly returned checks.

CNN has sought comment from Oher's attorney.

Checks from 2021 and 2022, totaling more than $8,000, have not yet cleared the Tuohys' bank accounts, the court document says.

Proceeds from the book and movie were split in five ways, between the Tuohys, their two biological children and Oher, the filing states.

"The Tuohy's have never received any money as conservators on behalf of Michael Oher and further never had control over any funds or any dealings on behalf of Mr. Oher during the entire term of the conservatorship.

In fact, the Tuohy's spent tens of thousands of dollars of their own money to support Mr. Oher during his high school and college years," the filing says.

Oher alleges he was 'exploited' by Tuohys.

In his petition to end his conservatorship, Oher and his attorneys accused the Tuohys of seeing high-school-aged Oher as "a gullible young man whose athletic talent could be exploited for their own benefit."

Oher became a ward of the state of Tennessee in 1996, shortly before turning 11, and soon after began living on the streets.

A friend's father helped Oher get into a school where he started playing football and basketball but had to take buses and walk over an hour to school, according to the petition.

During the summer after his junior year, Oher began occasionally staying with the Tuohys.

Eventually, the couple invited him to stay at their house more often and took him on shopping trips, the petition said.

The petition claims the Tuohys did not take legal action to assume custody of Oher.

In July 2004, after Oher turned 18 but was still a student, the Tuohys offered for Michael to come live with them, the petition states.

Soon after he moved in, the Tuohys gave him legal papers he thought were necessary for them to adopt him, Oher claims.

The papers requested that the conservators "have total control over Michael Oher's ability to negotiate for or enter any contract, despite the fact he was over 18 years of age and had no diagnosed physical or psychological disabilities," the petition states.

Oher said in the petition the Tuohys never informed him they would have "ultimate control of all his contracts" and the couple "falsely and publicly represented themselves as the adoptive parents of Michael, continuing to the date of the filing of this petition."

Around September 2006, the Tuohys negotiated contracts for the movie "The Blind Side" based on the book on Oher's life story for themselves and their two other children through Creative Artists Agency.

Each person would receive "$225,000 plus 2.5% of all future 'Defined Net Proceeds'" contingent on Oher signing.

SEE ALSO: 'The Blind Side' subject Michael Oher alleges Tuohys made millions off adoption lie

Oher's agent for the contract, Debra Branan, was listed as the attorney who filed his conservatorship, according to the petition.

In another contract in April 2007 that was "purportedly signed by Michael Oher," Oher gives away his name, likeness, voice, etc. to the movie studio "without any payment whatsoever," the petition states.

Though Oher thinks the signature on the contract looks similar to his, he is not sure if it was forged because he said "at no time ever willingly or knowingly" did he sign a document that explained he would be giving away rights to his name, image and life story, the petition says.

In 2005, Oher earned a scholarship to play football at the University of Mississippi, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy's alma mater.

At Ole Miss, Oher started 47 consecutive games and was named a consensus All-American in 2008.

Oher was then drafted to the Baltimore Ravens in 2009, where the 6-foot-5, 309-pound lineman played both left and right tackle for five seasons, helping the team win a Super Bowl in 2013.

Over his NFL career, he started 110 games over eight seasons with Baltimore, the Tennessee Titans and the Carolina Panthers.

Oher earned more than $34 million while playing in the NFL, according to Spotrac, a website that tracks sports contracts.

CNN's Eric Levenson, Jennifer Henderson, Brynn Gingras and Emma Tucker contributed to this report.

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