An attorney for Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy has issued a response to Michael Oher’s petition against them, which alleged that the couple deceived Oher into making the pair his conservators at age 18 and that he has not shared in the revenue from the feature “The Blind Side,” which drew from his life story.
The Tuohys’ attorney, Marty Singer, distributed a lengthy statement on Tuesday afternoon, alleging that Oher had “threatened” the couple by saying that “he would plant a negative story about them in the press unless they paid him $15 million” and dismissing the petition as “a ludicrous lawsuit” and a “cynical attempt to drum up attention in the middle of his latest book tour.”
“The Tuohys opened their home to Mr. Oher, offered him structure, support and, most of all, unconditional love. They have consistently treated him like a son and one of their three children. 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,” Singer writes, characterizing Oher’s alleged contentions as a “shakedown effort.”
The statement also offers an account of the dealmaking process behind adapting Michael Lewis’ 2006 book “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game” into the 2009 Oscar-winning feature starring Sandra Bullock and Quinton Aaron. Singer says that the Tuohys “insisted that any money received be divided equally” and “they have made good on that pledge.”
“Over the years, the Tuohys have given Mr. Oher an equal cut of every penny received from ‘The Blind Side,’” Singer continues.
In his petition filed Monday, Oher alleged that the conservatorship “provided him no familial relationship with the Tuohys,” despite Sean and Leigh Anne continuing to refer to Oher as their “adopted son” and referencing their relationship in promotions of their foundation. The statement from the couple’s attorney affirms that Oher is involved in a conservatorship, but that “either now or at anytime in the future, the Tuohys will never oppose” his wishes to terminate it.
“The Tuohys will always care deeply for Mr. Oher. They are heartbroken over these events,” Singer’s statement concludes. “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. In the meantime, however, they will not hesitate to defend their good names, stand up to this shakedown and defeat this offensive lawsuit.”
Sean Tuohy had previously issued a response to Oher’s allegations in an interview with The Daily Memphian: “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.”