Michael Oher demanded millions of dollars from the wealthy couple whose story of helping him escape poverty and make it to the NFL was immortalized in "The Blind Side," according to a court filing on behalf of the couple, threatening to publicly call them thieves if they did not pay him money he thought he was owed from the blockbuster movie's profits.
Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy filed documents Monday in their ongoing dispute with Oher in Tennessee's Shelby County Probate Court, quoting text messages in which Oher demanded money from them twice since 2021. In one, he asks for $10 million, before raising his demand to $15 million when the couple refused to pay.
"If something isn't resolve [sic] this Friday, I'm going to go ahead and tell the world, how I was robbed by my suppose to be [sic] parents. That's the deadline," Oher wrote in one text, according to the filing.
He added: "Think how it will look when this comes out."
In another message, Oher allegedly wrote: "That fun coming to an end soon. Can't wait to file this paperwork."
In yet another missive, Oher allegedly wrote: "Call my lawyer if you want to negotiate," before adding: "Let me head over to social media."
Monday's filing is the latest salvo in the ongoing legal battle between the former NFL offensive lineman and the Tuohys. The texts were offered to support the Tuohys' request that a judge refuse Oher's motion for a temporary injunction that would prevent them from using his name, image and likeness.
Although the couple last week told a probate judge that any mention of Oher being adopted by the couple would be removed from their websites and materials used to market their public appearances, they are clinging to the right to use his name. They argue that "Mr. Oher is a part of their personal and family story," which they have a right to tell.
The Tuohys argue that Oher had threatened to go after them in court for several years. He finally followed through in August, filing a court petition alleging that the couple cheated him out of millions of dollars they earned from the movie. He also said that a central element of the story -- that the Tuohys had adopted him -- was a lie perpetrated by the family to enrich itself.
Less than three months after Oher turned 18 in 2004, Oher said in the petition that the Tuohys tricked him into signing a document making them his conservators, which gave them the right to make business deals in his name.
The Tuohys have fiercely denied cheating Oher out of any money. In legal filings, they say they have paid Oher $138,000 from the movie's profits -- the same amount they say went to each of them, as well as their two children.
Through their lawyers, the Tuohys have acknowledged that they never legally adopted Oher as they have said in books and public appearances, adding that they still love him and treat him like a son. Their lawyers have said that the couple called Oher their adopted son "in the colloquial sense."
Since Oher filed his petition, the court has ended the conservatorship, even though the financial aspects of the dispute remain unresolved. Beyond the money earned by the movie, Oher has asked the couple to pay him his fair share of money the family made by using his name, image and likeness. He has also asked for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.