Three months after former NFL offensive tackle Michael Oher sued Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy over unpaid compensation for the Academy Award-nominated film The Blind Side (2009), they have fired back with what they say is evidence they paid Oher $138,111 for movie proceeds.
Attorneys for the couple filed an accounting—a report detailing and explaining assets and expenses—on Wednesday in a Tennessee probate court addressing Oher’s claims, including that the Tuohys kept his share of proceeds. The accounting purportedly reflects funds received by the Tuohys from The Blind Side movie, which grossed $309 million on a $29 million budget. It also reflects the agreement that Sean and Leigh Anne, their two children and Oher would evenly split proceeds from the movie and Michael Lewis’ best-selling book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game (2006).
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Most of the court filing contains copies of checks, tax documents, bank statements and similar records that allegedly show Oher has been paid in full. The Tuohys report that after a 10% commission was paid, they paid Oher or his family as much as $31,500 in one payment, with other payments as low as $117.30. The payments took place between 2007 and 2023, and the Tuohys say checks given to Oher in 2021 and 2022 have not cleared bank accounts.
In his lawsuit, Oher accuses the Tuohys of duping him into signing a conservator agreement, giving them control of his name, image and likeness. Oher also claimed he never received any compensation from the movie in that lawsuit—hence the recent filing from the Tuohys.
The Tuohys insist they “never received any money as conservators” on behalf of Oher. They also insist they never “had control over any funds or any [Oher] deals” during a conservatorship that Shelby County Probate Court Judge Kathleen Gomes terminated in September. As told through the book and movie, the Tuohys invited Oher, whose biological parents had drug and legal issues, to live with them while he was in high school in the mid-2000s.
Oher would go on to star at Ole Miss, and the Baltimore Ravens selected him in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Oher played eight seasons in the NFL, winning Super Bowl XLVII in 2013 with the Ravens and, per Spotrac, earned more than $34 million in salary.
The Tuohys say they not only shared all proceeds with Oher but they also “spent thousands of dollars of their own money to support Mr. Oher during his high school and college years.” The Tuohys, in other words, argue they acted both ethically and generously.
In his 2011 book, I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness, to The Blind Side, and Beyond, Oher described the Tuohys as his adoptive family, which he now claims is not true.
In August, Oher (with co-author Don Yaeger) released a new book, When Your Back’s Against the Wall. In it, Oher complains, “the way most of the world knows me is from a movie” and he finds it troubling to be viewed as a “character that came from somebody else’s imagination.” Oher writes the truth is, “day in and day out it was just me and my own efforts” and he “survived the hands dealt to me from the ages of 3 to 18, before the Tuohys ever entered the scene like you saw on the big screen.”