A source is coming to the Tuohys defense.
On Monday, Michael Oher filed a legal petition claiming Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy never actually adopted him. In the shocking lawsuit, he alleged he was tricked into making them his conservators, giving them power over his finances and allowing them to pretend to be his adoptive family so they could milk his story and success for money.
In his court docs, the former Baltimore Ravens player alleged the couple brokered a deal for The Blind Side movie, which was inspired by his life and relationship with the wealthy white family. According to the alleged deal, the Tuohys (including their two birth children) earned $225,000 for the film plus 2.5% of the film’s proceeds. Meanwhile, “Michael received nothing,” according to his filing.
Since the award-winning movie made over $300 million at the box office and earned Sandra Bullock an Oscar for Best Actress, the offensive tackle seemed to speculate that he lost out on millions by not being involved in this so-called lucrative deal, and he’s asking a judge to right that wrong by forcing the Tuohys to pay him an equal share of all the profits they made using his name and likeness.
A new source for People is coming out of the woodwork to debunk Michael’s assertion that there’s a ton of money being kept from him. On Wednesday, an insider close to the film insisted the Tuohys only earned around $700,000 total in rights, payments, and profits. This money was meant to be divided between ALL the family members, including Michael. They explained:
“The Tuohys have not received millions of dollars from the movie. They have not even received $1 million from the movie.”
$700,000 isn’t nothing. So, if Michael really saw none of that, we can understand why he’s upset! However, the family has maintained that they have paid the Ole Miss alum every penny he was owed. The couple’s lawyer Marty Singer even said something similar in a statement on Tuesday, telling outlets:
“When Michael Lewis, a friend of Sean’s since childhood, was approached about turning his book on Mr. Oher and the Tuohys into a movie about their family, his agents negotiated a deal where they received a small advance from the production company and a tiny percentage of net profits. They insisted that any money received be divided equally. And they have made good on that pledge.”
He insisted there is “evidence” and proper documentation to prove “the Tuohys have given Mr. Oher an equal cut of every penny received from The Blind Side.” While denying all the nasty allegations levied against them, Sean and Leigh Anne also accused the athlete of a prior attempt to “shakedown” the fam for $15 million before filing this latest lawsuit. They even claim he threatened to “plant a negative story about them in the press” if they didn’t pay up! Jeez!
Referencing this, Marty called out Michael for being the one who stopped accepting money amid a recent apparent rift with the family, writing:
“Even recently, when Mr. Oher started to threaten them about what he would do unless they paid him an eight-figure windfall, and, as part of that shakedown effort refused to cash the small profit checks from the Tuohys, they still deposited Mr. Oher’s equal share into a trust account they set up for his son.”
If they can prove this, it sure pokes some holes in Michael’s case.
As for why they had him placed into a conservatorship instead of just adopting him like what Michael (and the world) believed, the Tuohys claim they were always “upfront about how a conservatorship (from which not one penny was received) was established to assist with Mr. Oher’s needs, ranging from getting him health insurance and obtaining a driver’s license to helping with college admissions.”
They are also willing to end the legal contract whenever the 37-year-old wants, noting:
“Should Mr. Oher wish to terminate the conservatorship, either now or at anytime in the future, the Tuohys will never oppose it in any way.”
Still seems strange they didn’t just adopt him like they claimed! Even though he’d just turned 18 when he signed the (misleading) conservatorship papers, they could’ve made him an official part of the family if they really wanted. Perhaps more info on this decision will come to light as this case rages on.
One thing’s for certain: neither party is going to be backing down anytime soon! Reps for Oher clapped back at Singer’s statement on Wednesday, telling People they believe their client has a legitimate case:
“We try cases in the courtroom based on the facts. We have confidence in our judicial system and in our client Michael Oher. We believe that justice will be served in the courtroom, and we hope to get there quickly.”
A lot is going to be riding on what evidence both sides come to the table with. Thoughts so far?? Let us know (below)!