The Untold Truth Of Michael Oher's Alleged Parents From The Blind Side

Michael Oher's adoption story took the world by storm after the inspiring film "The Blind Side" debuted in theaters in 2009. The heartwarming film depicted Oher's journey with the Tuohy family, specifically Leigh Anne Tuohy, who ultimately helped him go from homeless to a professional NFL player. According to the Los Angeles Times, the film was originally based on a nonfiction book titled, "The Blind Side" by Michael Lewis. Though the book wasn't solely focused on Oher and the Tuohys, their story stole the spotlight in writer-director John Lee Hancock's eyes.

After the film was released, many were in awe of the Tuohy family and how they welcomed Oher with open arms. It truly seemed like he was the missing piece to their puzzle. Leigh Anne even shared with ABC how they instantly knew the Baltimore Ravens star would be part of their family. She said, "We all fell madly in love with him [Oher], probably within 48 hours. He was an instant part of this family." The entire story seemed too good to be true, and it might have been.

In August 2023, Oher alleged that the Tuohys never adopted him, but instead put him under a conservatorship, which allowed them to make "business deals" for him, per ESPN. The once-inspiring story of the Tuohys and Oher seemed to be shattered. Now, we're here to tell you the untold truth of who Oher's supposed adoptive parents, Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, are.

Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy allegedly kept all money made from The Blind Side

Many feel blindsided by the new allegations Michael Oher is throwing at his supposed adoptive parents, Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy. According to Heavy, the couple "adopted" Oher in 2004. What seemed like a miraculous story of Oher's rags-to-riches thanks to a giving Southern family, has suddenly disappeared. In 2023, the Baltimore Ravens star claimed the couple never adopted him, but put him under a conservatorship, per ESPN. Beyond that, Oher is also claiming that he never received any of the benefits that the rest of the family did from the success of the film "The Blind Side."

According to ESPN, Oher alleges that Leigh Anne and Sean ensured that "their two birth children [received] millions of dollars in royalties" from the film. As for Oher, he claims he received zero compensation for a film "​​that would not have existed without him."

Despite Oher's claim, Sean has denied the allegations, per The Daily Memphian. He shared, "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." Although the allegations are simply that, allegations, it doesn't make Sean and Leigh Anne look like the kind and giving parents who were portrayed in "The Blind Side."

Leigh Anne Tuohy was accused of racial profiling

When Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy invited Michael Oher into their home, not only did they have to adjust to welcoming a new family member, but they also had to develop a new perspective on what it's like to raise an African American son. The family was from Memphis, Tennessee, which according to Data USA, has a predominantly Black population of over 64%. The Tuohys even admitted they faced racist remarks when they began considering adopting Oher. Leigh Anne even told CNN in 2012 that racism is "still alive and well." And while she noted that people need to begin educating themselves, it seems that she, too, needed some education — and people were ready to teach her that lesson.

In 2014, Leigh Anne shared a Facebook post about an encounter with two young African American men (via Houston Style Magazine). Leigh Anne wrote, "These two were literally huddled over in a corner table nose to nose and the person with me said 'I bet they are up to no good' well you know me... I walked over, told them to scoot over." After much prying, Tuohy found out the two boys were simply trying to figure out how to scrounge up 3 bucks to attend a basketball game. Although she gave them money for the game, the bus fare, and snacks, many felt that Leigh Anne herself was racially profiling by going over and making them reveal why they were there.

Sean Tuohy made it a point to help other kids before Michael Oher

"The Blind Side" depicted Sean Tuohy as a highly successful businessman who owned and operated several fast-food chain restaurants. This is true, but he had to work hard to get there. According to the Making It Happen Foundation, Sean grew up poor. He struggled as he attended a rich private school, and would often use his athleticism in various sports to help him get by. Because Sean knew the struggles of not having a lot of money, he often held a soft spot for kids who faced the same trials and tribulations he did.

In an interview with Identity Theory, Michael Lewis, author of the book "The Blind Side," explained that the Tuohy's had helped several other African American children before Oher. Sean, specifically, would ensure these kids were on the right track and help them out. Lewis shared, "And Sean, because he had the experience of being the poor kid in the rich school when he was growing up, had made a point of seeking them out and seeing if they needed anything." 

Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy had often helped kids out, so what made Oher's situation different? Well, Lewis revealed it was because Oher had nothing to fall back on. The author shared, "Michael was unusual in that he was so exceptionally needy. The other kids needed help — maybe needed Sean to buy them lunch or something, but they didn't need the total infrastructure."

Leigh Anne Tuohy admitted to growing up in a racist family

Growing up in the South, Leigh Anne Tuohy never denied that she grew up in a racist family. According to The New York Times Magazine, Leigh Anne's father "raised her to fear and loathe blacks as much as he did" — so much so that, when Memphis City Schools desegregated in 1973, her father made sure she would not attend a school with African American children as part of the student body. Leigh Anne confessed, "I was raised in a very racist household." So, what made Leigh Anne's belief change? She can't exactly pinpoint a moment in her life, but she does give some credit to her husband, Sean Tuohy, who "doesn't know his own color."

As for how she came to supposedly adopt an African American child, Leigh Anne was simply helping someone in need, never focusing on the color of Michael Oher's skin, per The New York Times Magazine. Leigh Anne told The Palm Beach Post, "A lot of people have done what we've done. How many white families take white kids in? How many black families take black kids in, and vice versa? It's just a color, like your age is just a number." 

Leigh Anne believes that everyone puts too much "emphasis" on race, and if the world didn't have that mindset, "we'd be a lot better off."

Sean and Leigh Anne were investigated by the NCAA

At a critical part in "The Blind Side," we see Michael Oher being questioned by the NCAA regarding whether or not the football star's relationship with the Tuohys was authentic. Although the film briefly touched the subject, it went beyond the segment many saw in the film.

According to ShortForm, rumors claimed Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy were one of the many "rich white Southern couples [who] were adopting poor black kids from the inner city so they would play football at their alma mater." Not long after Oher decided to commit to Ole Miss, an investigation into Sean and Leigh Anne ensued. The NCAA investigator, Joyce Thompson, spent five hours with Oher and Sean, questioning the football star's relationship with the Tuohys. The investigation played with Oher's head and he, too, began wondering whether Sean and Leigh Anne's intentions were pure.

Nearly a month after the first investigation, Thompson returned to question Oher again, per ShortForm. After grilling the football star, Thompson turned to Sean for some answers. The businessman offered insight into how Oher became a part of their family and what they knew about him. Their story seemed like enough because the NCAA dropped the investigation. Still, it made many question the Tuohys' motives, and with the new allegations brought by Oher, the couple's authenticity is being questioned again.