Former NFL star Michael Oher has opened up about the struggles he has faced in recent years after news broke he has filed a lawsuit against Sean and Leigh Anne Touhy for allegedly lied about his adoption and making him millions.
It was reported on Monday that Oher had filed a lawsuit against the Tuohy, who were popularized by the acclaimed 2009 film, The blind sidealleging that he was tricked into signing a document that made them conservatives – not his adoptive parents – allowing them to take advantage of him.
The film – based on a 2006 book about Oher’s life story – followed his rags-to-riches story from being an adopted child in Tennessee to his adoption by the wealthy Tuohy family and becoming a star college athlete.
Oher filed a 14-page legal motion in Shelby County, Tennessee allege that the film’s central role was a lie and that the Tuohy family used the conservatorship to strike a deal that saw them earn millions from the Oscar-winning film which raised £237m ($300m) and that he didn’t make money with a story that ‘wouldn’t have existed without him’.
Oher played for eight seasons in the NFL, before being released by the Carolina Panthers in 2017 due to injury issues and speaking to the Show “Now you speak with Marshall Ramsey”he opened up about the struggles he faced following the premature end of his career.
Former NFL star Michael Oher has opened up about the struggles he faced after his career ended
Oher (centre) filed a lawsuit against Sean (left) and Leigh Anne Tuohy (right) on Monday
Oher alleged that he was tricked into signing a document that returned Tuohy’s conservatives – not his adoptive parents – and then allowed them to take advantage of him.
“Luckily I had people I could talk to,” Oher said. “My wife and a few close friends and they help you out.
“I knew I had a bigger purpose and others who were counting on me to get out of these dark times, so you start fighting and you see a crack of light, then you keep moving, you crawl and you are walking.
“And you think at first that you’ll never go back to that person you once were, but thanks to the help so far, here my circle brings me back to who I was and I’m still trying to heal and become that person I was before when all these stories were created.
‘It’s the most important thing for me. It scared me and scared me more than anything that I wasn’t the young kid I was when I started this journey.
“Personality, it’s taken away from you and things that are out of your control and you just keep fighting and you end up getting back on track.”
The 37-year-old – who last week published a new book, When Your Back’s Against the Wall’ – went on to explain that he now feels in a much stronger mental position and credited the impact of his relatives.
He added: “You think you have good friends and people around you. You know someone who knows when your personality changes and knows your body language.
“These are the people you need around you. Those who smell the slightest thing and they are the type of people you need around you.
“You may think you’re fine, but the least thing is when you need the right people around you to get through the tough times, then it’s easier mentally.
“It goes back to when I was a kid every day trying to get up and go to school on my own and bypass everything negative around me. At the end of the day I was thinking “damn I’m trying to do the right thing but I’m still in the same situation” and that’s a lot of wear and tear.
Oher continued: ‘You need someone to help you whenever you’re feeling down to let you know you’ll be fine, just keep following the steps, keep the plan in place and you’ll be fine.
Oher’s rags-to-riches story was made into the 2009 Oscar-winning film, The Blind Side
Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy in the beloved film
Oher credited the impact of close friends with helping him overcome his personal struggles
“It helps put you at peace and think ‘OK, I’m going to keep fighting, I’m going to keep doing the things I’m doing and getting the job done’.
As part of the aforementioned lawsuit, Oher also sought an end to the conservatorship, in addition to an injunction that would stop the Tuohy family from using his name and likeness.
The retired offensive lineman is also seeking “full accounting” of the money the family earned from him.
Over nine seasons in the NFL, Oher recorded a total income of £27.1 million ($34.5 million). In 2015, however, the 37-year-old blamed The Blind Side for his less than stellar career.
He said, “People look at me and they take things from me because of a movie. They don’t really see the skills and the kind of player I am. That’s why I’m so demoted, because of something off the pitch.
“This thing, calling me a bust, people saying whether I can play or not… it has nothing to do with football. It’s something else off the pitch. That’s why I don’t like this film.