A Tennessee judge has decided to terminate the conservatorship agreement that had been in place between former NFL player Michael Oher and the Tuohy family. This agreement, established back in 2004 when Oher was 18 and in the midst of being recruited by college football programs, had granted Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy control over Oher’s financial matters. The decision to end the conservatorship was announced by Shelby County Probate Court Judge Kathleen Gomes, as reported by The Associated Press.
Typically, conservatorships in Tennessee are associated with medical conditions or disabilities, but Judge Gomes expressed her surprise at encountering a conservatorship arrangement involving an individual who wasn’t disabled. She remarked, “I cannot believe it got done.”
While the conservatorship agreement is being terminated, the judge has not dismissed the entire case. In August, Oher, famously portrayed in the 2009 Academy Award-winning film “The Blind Side,” alleged in a petition filed in a Tennessee court that he had never been legally adopted by the Tuohy family. Instead, he claimed he was misled into a conservatorship that primarily benefited the Tuohy family.
Oher’s legal filing, alleges that “The claim of my adoption by Michael is a fabrication through which Co-Conservators Leigh Anne Tuohy and Sean Tuohy have profited, at the detriment of their Ward, Michael Oher himself.” The revelation of this deception occurred in February 2023, when he came to the realization that the conservatorship he had agreed to, with the belief it would integrate him into the Tuohy family, did not forge any genuine familial bonds.
Oher had been invited to live with the Tuohy family in 2004, and the petition alleges that shortly after moving in, they presented him with the conservatorship, which he interpreted as a form of legal adoption. Oher’s petition aimed to terminate the conservatorship, prevent the Tuohy family from using his name and likeness, and secure a share of the profits they had allegedly earned through his name.
Furthermore, Oher’s petition contended that, despite the Tuohys benefiting significantly from “The Blind Side,” he did not share in those benefits. In response, the Tuohys’ legal representatives denied these claims, asserting that they did not exploit any legal agreement with Oher for personal gain and had never falsely intended to adopt him.
The Tuohy family maintained that they cared for Oher as a son, providing him with food, shelter, clothing, and vehicles while he lived with them. They also acknowledged that Oher referred to them as “mom” and “dad” while they reciprocated by calling him their son. Although other sources may have referred to Oher as an adoptive son, the Tuohys argued that this was used in a colloquial sense and was not intended to imply any legal adoption.
According to the Tuohys, the conservatorship had been chosen as a means of complying with NCAA rules, which would have prevented Oher from attending Ole Miss, where Sean Tuohy had played basketball. The filing asserted that the NCAA had made it clear that Oher could enroll at Ole Miss if he were somehow connected to the Tuohy family.
Additionally, the Tuohys pointed out that Oher had previously acknowledged the Tuohys’ role as conservators rather than adoptive parents in his 2011 book, “I Beat the Odds.” Oher went on to be selected as the 23rd pick in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens, where he spent his initial five NFL seasons before playing for two more teams over his eight-year career.
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