After some critics called to strip her of her Oscar for The Blind Side, Sandra Bullock’s co-star has responded to the Michael Oher conservatorship legal drama that broke on August 14, 2023.
Oher was taken in by the Tuohy family in high school after he was taken into different foster families. His mother was struggling with drug addiction and he showed promising talent for football. He was drafted into the NFL and signed a five-year, $13.8 million contract with the Baltimore Ravens. Oher’s legacy was cemented on The Blind Side which starred Sandra Bullock as matriarch Leigh Anne Tuohy, though the exact situation and nature of their relationship is now up for discussion in the courts.
According to the court papers obtained by People, Oher did not sign adoption papers. The Tuohys had Oher sign legal papers that made them his conservators instead, relinquishing any power he would’ve had over his earnings. The 2004 conservatorship filing, showed that Oher signed the papers despite being 18 years old at the time and having “no known physical or psychological disabilities.”
“Michael trusted the Tuohys and signed where they told him to sign,” the legal filing claimed. “What he signed, however, and unknown to Michael until after February 2023, were not adoption papers, or the equivalent of adoption papers.” Now, critics are calling for Sandra Bullock’s Oscar, which she won at the 2010 awards for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy, to be stripped and her co-star that played Oher has come to her defense.
Sandra Bullock’s co-star responds to Michael Oher conservatorship
Sandra Bullock’s co-star responded to the Michael Oher conservatorship drama by defending her against claims she should be stripped of her Oscar.
Quinton Aaron, who played Oher in the 2009 sports drama, said there’s no need for her to even make a statement because she has nothing to do with the IRL lawsuit. “To make a statement like that doesn’t make any sense,” Aaron told TMZ. “Sandra Bullock didn’t have anything to do with the real story that we’re reading as of right now. She gave a brilliant performance,” he continued, “and that shouldn’t be tarnished for something that had nothing to do with her.”
He added that he “got a good sense from all of” the family, saying “they were real cool to me.”
According to the court filing, Oher allegedly did not receive profits from the film. The Tuohy’s allegedly constructed the movie deal to pay them and their two birth children substantial royalties as the film earned more than $300 million at the box office. The four Tuohy family members each made $225,000 plus 2.5 percent of “defined net proceeds” from the film. The filing seeks his “fair share of profits” in addition to “unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.”
The conservatorship was supposed to be dissolved when Oher turned 25, but allegedly it was not. The former NFL player didn’t learn about this until earlier this year and seeks to end the conservatorship. “Michael Oher discovered this lie to his chagrin and embarrassment in February of 2023, when he learned that the Conservatorship to which he consented on the basis that doing so would make him a member of the Tuohy family, in fact provided him no familial relationship with the Tuohys.”
“Since at least August of 2004, Conservators have allowed Michael, specifically, and the public, generally, to believe that Conservators adopted Michael and have used that untruth to gain financial advantages for themselves and the foundations which they own or which they exercise control,” the petition says. “All monies made in said manner should in all conscience and equity be disgorged and paid over to the said ward, Michael Oher.”
“Mike didn’t grow up with a stable family life,” Oher’s attorney J. Gerard Stranch IV said. “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. Discovering that he wasn’t actually adopted devastated Mike and wounded him deeply.”
In 2007, Oher allegedly signed a contract that gave away his life rights to the Tuohys “without any payment whatsoever.” Though now, he does not remember signing the contract, and if he did, he was not clear on its meaning.
“We divided it five ways,” the Tuohys wrote about their earnings in their 2010 book, In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving. According to ESPN, the Tuohys have denied making a lot money from the movie. They claimed they received a flat fee for the story and did not reap any of the movie’s profits, and what they did earn was shared with Oher.
“Mike’s relationship with the Tuohy family started to decline when he discovered that he was portrayed in the movie as unintelligent,” Stranch said. “Their relationship continued to deteriorate as he learned that he was the only member of the family not receiving royalty checks from the movie, and it was permanently fractured when he realized he wasn’t adopted and a part of the family.”
Oher criticized the movie for making him look less intelligent and damaged his overall reputation. “There has been so much created from The Blind Side that I am grateful for, which is why you might find it as a shock that the experience surrounding the story has also been a large source of some of my deepest hurt and pain over the past 14 years,” he wrote in his book When Your Back’s Against the Wall. “Beyond the details of the deal, the politics, and the money behind the book and movie, it was the principle of the choices some people made that cut me the deepest.”
“People look at me, and they take things away from me because of a movie,” he told ESPN in 2015. “They don’t really see the skills and the kind of player I am. That’s why I get downgraded so much, because of something off the field. This stuff, calling me a bust, people saying if I can play or not … that has nothing to do with football. It’s something else off the field. That’s why I don’t like that movie.”
Though Bullock won Best Actress for playing Leigh Anne Tuohy, she expressed regret in taking on the project. “I regretted having taken the film. Like, I shouldn’t have done this,” Bullock told the New York Times. “This is one of those moments that can sit in one hand with a couple of fingers that I left going, I have no idea what I did. I don’t know if it’s right. I don’t know if I gave what I needed to give, but I was spent by the time I left. And I did everything I could that I was able to do.”
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