SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. (WJW) — Following the Monday announcement that former NFL player Michael Oher filed a petition against the family immortalized in the Oscar-winning film “The Blind Side,” patriarch Sean Tuohy is speaking out.
Talking with a Memphis newspaper, Tuohy said the allegations that he and his wife Leigh Anne tricked Oher into a conservatorship and made money off his life story are false.
“We’re devastated,” Tuohy told a Daily Memphian reporter. “It’s upsetting to think we would make money off any of our children. But we’re going to love Michael at 37 just like we loved him at 16.”
In the petition, Oher said he wants out of the conservatorship and is looking for “a full accounting of the money earned off the use of his name and story,” according to the Associated Press.
Sean explained the reason they didn’t legally adopt Oher (something the football star claims he was led to believe) was because he was over 18 at the time and the only way to make him a part of the family, and comply with NCAA rules, was to enact the conservatorship.
“It’s upsetting, but it’s life, what are you going to do? Certain people will believe us and certain people won’t,” Tuohy said in the Memphis interview.
Adding another twist to the story, the Tuohy family attorney Marty Singer released a statement to TMZ Tuesday alleging that Oher had asked them for $15 million prior to going public with the legal claims.
“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,” the statement (which can be read in full here) said. “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.”
Sean and his lawyer made clear the family is willing to dissolve the conservatorship at any time, saying they only want what’s best for Oher.