A True Blind Side

Unable to see the reality

Although Sandra Bullock’s Oscar-winning portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy in the movie The Blind Side was inspirational and heartfelt, the real-life version of her character is now depicted in a lawsuit as deceitful and untrustworthy.  The storyline of the 2009 movie focuses on a Tennessee family’s encouragement and support of a young man who did not benefit from familial stability but did possess strong athletic talents.  Backed by the Tuohy family, the real Michael Oher succeeded as an All-American at Ole Miss and was drafted into the NFL, in which he played for eight seasons. 

While the movie plot tears at the viewer’s heartstrings, the current state of the Tuohy family unfortunately differs from the cinematic version.  Primarily, the main discrepancy between the on-screen representation versus reality is the presence of an adoption.  While the actor who played “Big Mike” legally became a member of the Tuohy family in the movie, the real Michael Oher was only tethered to the Tuohy’s through a conservatorship.  According to a lawsuit filed this summer, in which he is seeking $15 million, Oher claims that he was only made aware of this arrangement in February 2023, about twenty years after the conservatorship was established.  Up to that point, he thought he was adopted. 

The former NFL player contends that the Tuohy’s unjustly profited from the movie and benefited from his rags to riches story.  On the other hand, due to Oher’s age, the Tuohy’s were unable to legally adopt him and were only presented the option for conservatorship.  Taking place just months after Oher’s 18th birthday, the conservatorship afforded the Tuohy’s the opportunity to oversee finances and aid in his future.  In response to the lawsuit, it has been made clear that the family has always treated Oher as one of their own children and has provided equal shares of the movie’s proceeds, which totaled half a million.  Each of the five Tuohy family members, including Oher, received $100,000 each.