Michael Oher - 'The Blind Side' Untold Story
Michael Oher is a former professional American football player and was an offensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at the University of Mississippi and was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He also played for the Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers.
Oher's life and early career were the basis for Michael Lewis' 2006 book "The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game," which was later adapted into the 2009 movie "The Blind Side" starring Sandra Bullock. The book also used Oher's story to illustrate the rise in importance of the left tackle position, which protects the "blind side" of (typically right-handed) quarterbacks from oncoming pass rushers. The story also focuses on Oher's difficult upbringing, being in and out of foster homes, and his adoption by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy. It also delves into how he was introduced to football and became one of his class's top high school football prospects.
Throughout his career and even today, there are differing opinions about the impact and accuracy of "The Blind Side" in portraying Oher's life. Still, the story brought significant attention to his journey from a challenging childhood to professional success.
Who Drafted Michael Oher in the NFL?
Michael Oher was highly regarded as coming from the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). In the 2009 NFL Draft lead-up, he was considered one of the top offensive tackle prospects. Many scouts and analysts recognized him for his impressive size, strength, and athleticism, making him stand out.
While individual team boards and ratings can vary, Oher was often projected as a first-round talent in many mock drafts and by several scouting services. His eventual selection by the Baltimore Ravens as the 23rd overall pick in the first round of the draft validated these scouts' projections.
Michael Oher's NFL career can be considered successful, especially when viewed in the context of his journey and the challenges he faced in his early life, as depicted in the movie "The Blind Side."
Here's a snapshot of Oher's NFL achievements:
- Drafted in the First Round: Michael Oher was selected by the Baltimore Ravens with the 23rd overall pick in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Being a first-round pick is a significant achievement and speaks to a player's perceived talent and potential.
- Consistent Starter: Throughout his career, Oher was a consistent starter. He played for the Baltimore Ravens from 2009 to 2013, the Tennessee Titans in 2014, and the Carolina Panthers in 2015 and 2016.
- Super Bowl Champion: One of the highlights of Oher's career was winning Super Bowl XLVII with the Baltimore Ravens in the 2012 season.
- Carolina Panthers and Super Bowl 50: Oher also played left tackle for the Carolina Panthers when they made it to Super Bowl 50, although they did not win.
- Career Longevity: Oher played in the NFL for eight seasons, which is relatively long, especially for an offensive lineman, given the physical demands of the position.
However, like many NFL players, Oher's career had ups and downs, including struggles with injuries and performance consistency. His career ended early due to lingering health concerns, especially concussions.
In summary, while Oher may not be ranked among the all-time great offensive linemen in NFL history, he had a successful career, earned respect from peers, and achieved notable successes, including a Super Bowl ring.
Did the Tuohy Family Adopt Michael Oher?
Yes, Michael Oher was adopted by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy. The Tuohy family took Oher in as a teenager, providing him with a more stable living environment. Their story became widely known through the book "The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game" by Michael Lewis, which was later adapted into the 2009 movie "The Blind Side," where Sandra Bullock portrayed Leigh Anne Tuohy. The film highlighted the Tuohy family's significant role in Oher's life, helping him overcome various challenges and providing support as he pursued his football career.
What is a Conservatorship?
A conservatorship is a legal concept in the United States wherein a judge appoints a guardian or a protector to manage another individual's financial affairs and daily life due to physical or mental limitations or old age. The person in the role of the conservator is responsible for overseeing the personal care or financial matters (or both) of the individual who cannot care for themselves or manage their finances. This individual is often referred to as the conservatee.
Conservatorships can be categorized primarily as:
- Conservatorship of the person: The conservator is responsible for ensuring that the conservatee has proper food, clothing, shelter, and health care. This might include making decisions about medical treatments or living arrangements.
- Conservatorship of the estate: The conservator manages the conservatee's financial matters, such as paying bills and collecting a person's income.
It's worth noting that the laws and specifics around conservatorships can vary by state. They are put in place to protect those who cannot defend themselves. Still, they can be complex and, at times, controversial, especially when there are disagreements about the need for conservatorship or the specific limitations imposed on the conservatee.
How is a conservatorship different than adoption?
Conservatorship and adoption are distinct legal processes serving different purposes and populations. Here's how they differ:
- Conservatorship: This is designed to protect and assist adults who are deemed by a court to be incapable of caring for themselves or managing their affairs due to physical or mental limitations or old age. The conservator helps the conservatee with personal and financial decisions.
- Adoption is when an adult becomes the legal parent of a child who is not their biological offspring. The primary purpose is to provide a permanent family for a child.
- Conservatorship: The duration can be temporary or permanent, depending on the needs and circumstances of the conservatee. The court usually reviews conservatorships periodically, and they can be terminated if the conservatee's condition improves or if other changes in circumstances occur.
- Adoption: Once an adoption is finalized, it is permanent. The adoptive parents have all the legal rights and responsibilities as if the child were their biological offspring. This relationship does not end when the child becomes an adult.
- Affected Population:
- Conservatorship: Primarily pertains to adults, especially the elderly, those with severe mental health issues, or those with significant disabilities.
- Adoption: Primarily concerns children who need permanent families, though adult adoption is also possible in certain jurisdictions for various reasons.
- Rights and Responsibilities:
- Conservatorship: A conservator is given specific rights and responsibilities by the court, which may be limited to financial matters, personal care, or both. The conservatee may retain certain rights, and the conservator is usually required to seek the best interests of the conservatee.
- Adoption: Adoptive parents have the same rights and responsibilities as biological parents. The birth parents' rights are terminated, and the adoptive parents assume full legal responsibility for the child.
In essence, while both conservatorships and adoptions involve a legal framework for care and protection, they cater to different groups and have other implications regarding rights, responsibilities, and permanency.
Michael Oher allegedly demanded his adoptive parents $15 million to keep it secret. Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy say a lawyer doesn't convince them that Oher was fooling him into a conservatorship. The lawyers have said Oher would be the principal defendant who reportedly threatened to write an article about the Tuohys' pending arrest in a newspaper.
Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy took Oher in when he faced poverty and shuffled through the foster care system. Oher's subsequent rise to an NFL first-round draft pick came after attending Ole Miss, the Tuohys' alma mater. His inspiring journey was later showcased in the 2009 hit film "The Blind Side," which was adapted from Michael Lewis's 2006 book bearing the same title.
Oher's Monday petition accuses the Tuohy family of misleading him about his official familial status and capitalizing on his narrative for monetary benefits. He has demanded they cease using his image and name and compensate him for potential financial losses.
Oher also revealed he learned about his non-adoption status just half a year ago, describing the revelation as "heart-wrenching."
How does Michael Oher feel about the Tuohy family?
In his petition, he said Tuohy's family lied on behalf of his parents to gain his financial support. He requested they not use his name and similarity to repay any money owed. The Tuohys insist they have given Oher an equal cut of every penny received from 'The Blind Side.'
"The notion that a couple worth hundreds of millions of dollars would connive to withhold a few thousand dollars in profit participation payments from anyone -- let alone from someone they loved as a son -- defies belief," from a statement by the attorney Marty Singer. "Should Mr. Oher wish to terminate the conservatorship, either now or at any time in the future, the Tuohys will never oppose it in any way." 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 and offered him structure, support, and unconditional love. They have consistently treated him like a son and one of their three children.
Sean Tuohy Jr., also known as SJ, the son of Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, believes that tensions between Oher and the Tuohy family developed over time. He claimed that around 2021, Oher requested money from the family. SJ emphasized that he will never speak ill of Oher despite the issues, saying, "I get why he's upset, and I understand."
Why Was Michael Oher in a Conservatorship Instead of Being Adopted?
Michael Oher, now 37, is well-known for his eight seasons in the NFL and his connection to the Tuohy family. The relationship between the two parties has been brought to the forefront with new revelations and allegations, creating a contentious atmosphere that challenges the narrative many were familiar with from the popular film "The Blind Side."
Oher had recently claimed that the Tuohy family never officially adopted him before he turned 18. He alleges that they deceived him into signing a conservatorship agreement shortly after he became an adult. This legal maneuver typically protects those unable to make decisions due to physical or developmental disabilities. However, Oher's case permitted the Tuohys to make business deals on his behalf, including profiting from his life story without his consent.
Leonardo, a legal expert, elaborated on the gravity of such an agreement, likening it to a "power of attorney on steroids." While conservatorships have their place, especially in ensuring the well-being of vulnerable individuals, Leonardo stressed the court's responsibility to prevent potential abuses of this power. This includes periodic checks on the status and finances of the conservatee, which Oher asserts he never received. The veracity of these claims is yet to be confirmed.
The Tuohy family, however, has a different side to the story. They've told The Daily Memphian that the conservatorship was established primarily to fulfill NCAA residency requirements. Sean Tuohy recounted how the NCAA presented stipulations for Michael's admission to Ole Miss, which required him to be legally part of the Tuohy family. Adopting an individual over 18 was not feasible, so they opted for conservatorship, even ensuring Oher's biological mother was present in court.
But the stakes are high in this legal battle. Oher is not only seeking to end the conservatorship but is also suing the Tuohys for damages, arguing they benefited financially from his story. He claims he was duped into signing away his rights, receiving no compensation from "The Blind Side" movie, which grossed $309 million.
Adding to the intrigue, Oher recently released a book, "When Your Back's Against the Wall", co-authored by Don Yaeger and published by Penguin Random House. In this memoir, he sheds light on his feelings of betrayal and pain over the years. Despite the positive impact of "The Blind Side", Oher reveals a deep-seated hurt from the portrayal and behind-the-scenes dealings.
There's a clash in narratives. The Tuohys have previously said they shared the movie earnings with Oher. Their 2010 book, "In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving," mentions a division of profits. Sean Tuohy has even expressed their devastation over the recent allegations, emphasizing their love for Michael, irrespective of financial matters.
However, Oher's petition, filed in Shelby County, Tennessee, probate court, paints a different picture. It states that less than three months after turning 18, he was misled into the conservatorship, which enabled the Tuohys to profit off his story without seeing a dime. According to the petition, they've used this narrative to promote their foundation and Leigh Anne Tuohy's career as an author and speaker. The petition demands an end to the conservatorship and financial compensation from the Tuohys.
Both parties hold strong and contrasting perspectives on the issue. With Oher's new book shedding light on his feelings and the impending court proceedings, the truth will eventually emerge, potentially reshaping how the public perceives the iconic story of "The Blind Side."
What do we know about Michael Oher's lawsuit against the Tuohy family?
Michael Oher accuses the Tuohy family of never formally adopting him and manipulating him into a conservatorship agreement once he turned 18. This allowed the Tuohys legal control over Oher's name, image, and likeness. Oher claims that while the Tuohys profited from the film and other ventures using his story, he received no compensation, despite the film grossing $309 million. While the Tuohys contend that their actions, including the conservatorship, were to meet NCAA residency requirements for Oher's college admission, they have previously claimed to have shared the movie's earnings with him. Different portrayals of the relationship in various books and media further complicate the dispute. Oher is not only seeking to terminate the conservatorship but is also suing the Tuohys for damages.
Why is Michael Oher not playing football anymore?
Michael Oher's path to the NFL stands out as incredibly challenging, marked by profound personal struggles from his past. While every NFL player's journey is a testament to talent and perseverance, Oher faced additional hurdles rooted in his tumultuous upbringing. This adversity shaped his resilience and impacted his mental well-being throughout his career.
It's crucial to consider the unique physical demands Oher encountered due to his large stature, even as a teenager. These early strains exacerbated the wear and tear on his body, which became evident during his tenure with the Carolina Panthers. After a promising start, injuries significantly plagued Oher. In the 2016 season, he played only three games due to these setbacks. Optimistically, he aimed to make a comeback the following year.
However, 2017 brought more challenges. Failing the initial physical was a significant setback for Oher as he sought a spot on the Panthers' roster. Facing these persistent health issues, Oher acknowledged the toll they took on his body and mind. He prioritized his well-being, leading him to retire at 30 and shift his focus to endeavors outside of football.
Meet Tiffany Roy, the wife of 'The Blind Side' inspiration Michael Oher
Tiffany Roy is best known as the loving and supportive wife of Michael Oher, the football star whose life inspired the hit movie "The Blind Side." The couple's love story is a testament to enduring love, trust, and commitment, spanning over 17 years before culminating in a wedding. Here's a deep dive into their heartwarming story and who Tiffany Roy truly is.
Meeting at Ole Miss
Michael Oher and Tiffany Roy first crossed paths at the University of Mississippi, often called Ole Miss. During Oher's time at Ole Miss, where he played football, he encountered Roy working at the registrar's office. Despite his athletic acclaim, Roy was not immediately smitten by Oher. But as they got to know each other, their connection grew stronger. Oher recalls in his memoir, "Our story is a funny one," noting that Tiffany's authentic nature stood out among the many people he met due to his football fame. "Tiffany was authentic," he revealed, "She had this self-respect about her. We took things slow, but after a few months, we were talking regularly." Their official romantic journey began in 2005.
Building a Life Together
The couple's bond remained unbreakable throughout the ups and downs of Oher's career. Their mutual support and respect are evident in Oher's memoir "When Your Back's Against the Wall: Fame, Football, and Lessons Learned through a Lifetime of Adversity," published in 2023. Here, Oher highlights their strong bond, noting, "If I'm talking about my circle, my wife, Tiffany, is in the center of it. Her presence in my life is like my foundation: strong and stabilizing, but not always seen."
The couple is blessed with two biological children, MJ and Naivi. Additionally, Oher has lovingly embraced Tiffany's children from a previous relationship, Kobi and Kierstin, with no distinction. "I hold my stepkids, Kobi and Kierstin, to the same standards as I do my own, MJ and Naivi," Oher shared in his memoir. The birth of his children, particularly his son MJ in 2013, marked a profound shift in Oher's life, reorienting his priorities and amplifying his sense of responsibility and pride.
After 17 years of togetherness, Roy and Oher decided to solidify their bond formally. They got engaged on July 21, 2021, and exchanged vows on Nov. 5, 2022, at the JW Marriott in Nashville. Reflecting on their journey and wedding day, Roy shared on Instagram, "This day was a very special day that I will forever cherish and hold close to my heart. I can actually say it has been a fairytale."
Tiffany Roy: Businesswoman & Partner
Beyond her role as a devoted wife and mother, Tiffany Roy is an accomplished businesswoman. She owned the boutique Feminish Collection in Nashville and had dreamt of this venture "for a long time." Additionally, the couple collaborates on philanthropic efforts through the Oher Foundation, a non-profit based in Nashville. This foundation seeks to uplift socio-economically disadvantaged students by offering scholarships and mentorship programs.
Tiffany Roy and Michael Oher's relationship is a beautiful testament to the power of love, resilience, and partnership.