The Tuohy Family From “The Blind Side” Alleged That Michael Oher Tried To “Threaten” Them With Negative Press Unless They Paid Him $15 Million Days After He Claimed They Faked His Adoption

Marty Singer, the Tuohy family attorney, described Michael’s recent lawsuit as a “cynical attempt to drum up attention in the middle of his latest book tour.”

An attorney has issued a statement on behalf of the Tuohy family following Michael Oher’s claims that they faked his adoption to financially exploit him.

Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy with their two kids

Michael — whose rise to NFL stardom served as the inspiration for The Blind Side in 2009 — alleged in a lawsuit on Monday that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy did not legally adopt him, as is depicted in the Oscar-winning film, but instead deceived him into signing a document that put them in control of his personal and financial affairs.

Michael Oher during a Panthers game

He claims that the conservatorship — which he signed at 18 years old under the belief that he was being adopted — enabled the couple to negotiate a deal to make a movie based on his falsified life story, from which they would profit millions of dollars.

Michael Oher at a SiriusXM event

The Blind Side was a critical and commercial success, grossing more than $300 million globally and earning two Academy Award nominations, with Sandra Bullock winning the Oscar for Best Actress for her portrayal of Leigh Anne in the movie.

Sandra Bullock holds her Oscar for Best Actress in 'The Blind Side'

Michael’s petition alleges that the Tuohys and their birth children, Collins and SJ Tuohy, each earned $225,000 from the hit movie, as well as 2.5% of its “defined net proceeds,” while he received nothing.

The Tuohys and Michael during happier times

The lawsuit says that Michael discovered the conservatorship filings in February this year.

He says the 2004 legal agreement revealed that he had “no familial relationship with the Tuohys,” despite Sean and Leigh Anne referring to him as their “adopted son,” and using that “untruth to gain financial advantages for themselves and the foundations which they own or which they exercise control.”

Sean and Leigh Anne at the Oscars

And now, the Tuohys have responded via a lengthy statement from their attorney, Marty Singer, which was obtained by TMZ.

Singer begins by describing Michael’s allegations as “outlandish,” “hurtful” and “absurd,” saying that the idea that the Tuohys ever sought to “profit off” him is “not only offensive,” but “transparently ridiculous.”

Michael Oher at a press conference for the 50th Super Bowl

The couple confirm through their attorney that Michael is involved in a conservatorship — “from which not one penny was received” — but that they have always been “upfront” about the legal arrangement.

Sean and Leigh Anne Touhy with their daughter

They say the conservatorship was “established to assist with Mr. Oher’s needs, ranging from getting him health insurance and obtaining a driver’s license to helping with college admissions,” adding that if Michael wishes to terminate the conservatorship, the Tuohys will “never oppose it.”

Michael Tuohy with his original team, the Baltimore Ravens

As is depicted in The Blind Side, the statement notes that Sean and Leigh Anne have long been exceptionally wealthy from their work in the restaurant industry. Singer refutes 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.”

Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy with their daughter at a formal event

Offering an account of the process behind adapting Michael Lewis’ 2006 book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game into the Oscar-winning movie, Singer claims that the Tuohys “insisted that any money received be divided equally. And they have made good on that pledge.”

Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Touhy in The Blind Side

“When Michael Lewis, a friend of Sean's since childhood, was approached about turning his book on Mr. Oher and the Tuohys into a movie about their family, his agents negotiated a deal where they received a small advance from the production company and a tiny percentage of net profits,” the statement reads. “Over the years, the Tuohys have given Mr. Oher an equal cut of every penny received from The Blind Side.”

Quinton Aaron and Sandra Bullock as Michael and Leigh Anne in The Blind Side

What’s more, Singer alleges that the Tuohys have continued to give Michael his “equal share” of the profits, even after he allegedly attempted to “threaten” them in a $15 million “shakedown effort.”

Michael Oher and the Tuohys when he was drafted to the Baltimore Ravens

“They have continued to treat him like a son and one of their three children,” they claim. “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.”

Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy at the Oscars

Singer alleges that Michael “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.”

Michael Oher on the field for the Carolina Panthers

“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,” the statement continues, referring to Michael’s new book, When Your Back's Against the Wall, which was released this month.

Michael Oher at a press conference during the 50th Super Bowl

In conclusion, Singer says the Tuohys “will always care deeply for Mr. Oher” and are “heartbroken over these events.”

Leigh Anne Tuohy on the sidelines during a Ravens game

“They desperately hope that he comes to regret his recent decisions, makes different choices in the future and that they someday can be reconciled with him,” the closing lines read. “In the meantime, however, they will not hesitate to defend their good names, stand up to this shakedown and defeat this offensive lawsuit.”

Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy with their daughter

Michael has yet to respond to the claims in the statement. BuzzFeed has contacted a representative for Michael for comment.

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