Sean Tuohy reacted to Michael Oher’s lawsuit against his family — and denied the allegations laid out in the court filing.
Tuohy, 63, called Oher’s claims “insulting” in a statement to the Daily Memphian on Monday, August 14. “It’s upsetting to think we would make money off any of our children,” he said, adding that he and his family are “devastated” over the lawsuit. “But we’re going to love Michael at 37 just like we loved him at 16.”
Oher, 37, recently filed a petition alleging that Sean and his wife, Leigh Anne Tuohy, never officially adopted him and instead profited off the claim that they did. According to court documents obtained by Us Weekly, Oher claimed that Sean and Leigh Anne, 63, convinced him to sign a document in 2004 that made them his conservators, which gave the family legal authority to make business deals in his name.
“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,” read the filing. “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.”
Sean, for his part, claimed on Monday that the conservatorship arrangement was made so Oher could play football at the University of Mississippi.
“They said the only way Michael could go to Ole Miss was if he was actually part of the family,” Sean told the Daily Memphian. “I sat Michael down and told him, ‘If you’re planning to go to Ole Miss — or even considering Ole Miss — we think you have to be part of the family. This would do that, legally.’ We contacted lawyers who had told us that we couldn’t adopt over the age of 18; the only thing we could do was to have a conservatorship.”
Sean also denied Oher’s claims about who received profits from The Blind Side, the 2009 movie based on the Tuohy family’s relationship with Oher. Oher claimed in his filing that Leigh Anne, Sean and their two birth children each received $225,000 for the film and 2.5 percent of the movie’s “defined net proceeds” while he never saw a penny.
Sean claimed that he and his family “didn’t make any money off the movie” but did receive payment from Michael Lewis, who authored the 2006 book that inspired the film. “Everybody in the family got an equal share, including Michael. It was about $14,000 each,” Sean said. “We were never offered money; we never asked for money.”
After the lawsuit made headlines, Oher said he was “disheartened by the revelation” in the court filing. “This is a difficult situation for my family and me,” he said in a statement. “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.”
Meanwhile, Sean and Leigh Anne’s son, Sean “SJ” Tuohy Jr., said he found it “hard to believe” that Oher only learned of the conservatorship in February.
“[I went back to] our family group texts … to see what things have been said. And there’s things back in 2020, 2021 [that] were like, you know, ‘If you guys give me this much, then I won’t go public with things,’” SJ, 30, said during a Monday interview on Barstool Radio. “And so I don’t know if that’s true. I think everyone learned in the past year about the conservatorship stuff because of Britney Spears, so maybe that’s the case.”
SJ added that he’s seen $60,000 to $70,000 “over the course of the last four or five years” as the film made additional money.
“Man, if I had $2 million in my bank account, it would be in my email signature and say, ‘Signed, SJ Tuohy, multi-millionaire,’” SJ said on Monday, denying claims that his family made “millions” from The Blind Side. “I get it, why he’s mad. I completely understand. It stinks that it’ll play out on a very public stage. … You will never hear me say anything bad about Michael Oher in any capacity other than I’m upset that he feels the way that he does. I think some of the things that were mentioned in the probate or book or whatever I don’t necessarily agree with and or remember happening like that.”