Tuohy Family Claims Michael Oher Attempted to ‘Threaten’ Them with Negative Press in $15 Million ‘Shakedown’

An attorney representing Leigh Anne Tuohy and Sean Tuohy claims that Michael Oher attempted a “shakedown” on the couple for $15 million before he filed the petition alleging that the couple lied about adopting him while making millions off his name.

On Monday, Oher, 37, claimed in a petition that the Tuohy family did not legally adopt him, but instead tricked him into making them his conservators before earning millions from his falsified life story, which the film The Blind Side was based on.

In a statement issued to PEOPLE, the Tuohy family’s attorney Martin Singer said the Tuohy family “opened their home to Mr. Oher, offered him structure, support, and most of all, unconditional love.”

Singer’s statement continued, claiming, “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.”

The statement also alleged that “Mr. Oher has actually attempted to run this play several times before,” but was “stopped” after the lawyers representing him “saw the evidence and learned the truth.”

Singer’s statement continued, “Sadly, Mr. Oher has finally found a willing enabler” to file “this ludicrous lawsuit as a cynical attempt to drum up attention in the middle of his latest book tour.”

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“Anyone with a modicum of common sense can see that the outlandish claims made by Michael Oher about the Tuohy family are hurtful and absurd,” Singer continued. “The idea that the Tuohys have ever sought to profit off Mr. Oher is not only offensive, it is transparently ridiculous.”

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Representatives for Oher responded to Singer’s statement, telling PEOPLE they stand by Oher’s petition. “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.”

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The statement continued: “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.”

Singer’s statement claimed that the Tuohy’s “have made good on that pledge” to divide the profits equally.

Additionally, the Tuohys’ attorney claimed that “evidence” is “clear” and shows that the “Tuohys have given Mr. Oher an equal cut of every penny received from” the film, all of which has apparently been “documented in profit participation checks and studio accounting statements,” per Singer’s statement.

Singer’s statement also claimed that the Tuohys have “always been upfront about” the details of his conservatorship, which was apparently “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.”

Baltimore Ravens #23 draft pick Michael Oher poses for a photograph with his family at Radio City Music Hall for the 2009 NFL Draft on April 25, 2009 in New York City

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Moreover, the attorney’s statement said that Sean and Leigh Anne “will never oppose” the termination of the conservatorship, “either now or at anytime in the future.”

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In closing the statement, Singer said that the Tuohys are “heartbroken over these events” and will “always care deeply for Mr. Oher,” but they “desperately hope that he comes to regret his recent decisions” to pursue the legal battle.

“In the meantime, however, they will not hesitate to defend their good names, stand up to this shakedown and defeat this offensive lawsuit.”

TMZ was first to report the statement from Singer.

On Tuesday, a representative for Oher shared a statement with PEOPLE about the former NFL star’s petition, which requests a termination of the Tuohy’s conservatorship. “I am disheartened by the revelation shared in the lawsuit today,” Oher said in the statement. “This is a difficult situation for my family and me. I want to ask everyone to please respect our privacy at this time. For now, I will let the lawsuit speak for itself and will offer no further comment.”

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According to the petition, filed on August 14 at Shelby County Probate Court and obtained by PEOPLE, Oher alleges he unknowingly authorized the couple to be his conservators in 2004 when he was 18 years old.

“Michael trusted the Tuohys and signed where they told him to sign,” the legal filing claims. “What he signed, however, and unknown to Michael until after February 2023, were not adoption papers, or the equivalent of adoption papers.”

The family the film is based on Collins Tuohy, Sean Tuohy Jr. Leigh Anne Tuohy and Sean Tuohy attend the premiere of "The Blind Side" at the Ziegfeld Theatre on November 17, 2009 in New York City.

Stephen Lovekin/Getty

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Oher recently learned that the Tuohy family was receiving residual checks from the movie, he claims, and hired attorney J. Gerard Stranch IV to look into the situation. That allegedly led the attorney to uncovering the conservatorship papers in February 2023.”Mike didn’t grow up with a stable family life. When the Tuohy family told Mike they loved him and wanted to adopt him, it filled a void that had been with him his entire life,” Stranch claimed to ESPN. “Discovering that he wasn’t actually adopted devastated Mike and wounded him deeply.”

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