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Michael Oher, Who Inspired 'The Blind Side,' Alleges Family Made Millions While Lying About Adopting Him

In a legal filing Monday, the retired NFL star alleged the family tricked him into signing conservatorship papers when he was 18

<p>Matthew Sharpe/Getty</p> From left: Sean Tuohy, Michael Oher, and Leigh Ann Tuohy

Matthew Sharpe/Getty

From left: Sean Tuohy, Michael Oher, and Leigh Ann Tuohy

Michel Oher, the retired NFL star whose life inspired the Oscar-nominated film The Blind Side, filed a legal petition to terminate a conservatorship on Monday alleging Leigh Anne Tuohy and Sean Tuohy lied about adopting him while making millions off his name.

In a filing Monday in the Shelby County, Tenn. probate court, the 37-year-old retired football player claimed the Tuohy family tricked him into making them his conservators when he was 18, allegedly telling him there was no consequential difference between being adopted and entering into a conservatorship.

“Michael trusted the Tuohys and signed where they told him to sign,” the legal filing, obtained by PEOPLE on Monday morning, claims. “What he signed, however, and unknown to Michael until after February 2023, were not adoption papers, or the equivalent of adoption papers.”

Instead, the filing claims, the Tuohys had Oher sign legal papers that made them his conservators. The 2004 conservatorship filing, also reviewed by PEOPLE, shows that Oher signed the papers despite being 18 years old at the time and having “no known physical or psychological disabilities” that would more often lead a legal adult to agree to a conservatorship.

Related: Where Is the 'Blind Side' Family Now? What to Know About Michael Oher and the Touhys

<p>Matthew Sharpe/Getty</p>

Matthew Sharpe/Getty

The 2004 filings say Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, now both 63, “have all powers of attorney to act on his behalf” and that Oher “shall not be allowed to enter into any contracts or bind himself without the direct approval of his conservators.”

Oher alleged in his petition Monday that the Tuohys, including Leigh Anne and Sean’s two children by birth, Collins Tuohy and Sean Tuohy Jr., all made money off 2009 film The Blind Side, which was based off the 2006 book of the same name and centered around the Tuohy family taking Oher in and helping him both in school and in the classroom.

Related: Michael Oher, Who Inspired 'Blind Side', Opens Up About Mental Health: 'I'm Still Dealing with Trauma'

<p>Jeff Zelevansky/Getty</p> Michael Oher at the 2009 NFL Draft

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty

Michael Oher at the 2009 NFL Draft

Oher, who played football at the University of Mississippi and was later drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2009, alleges in his legal petition Monday that all four members of the Tuohy family were paid $225,000 for the film plus 2.5% of the film’s proceeds.

The movie went on to make more than $330 million at the box office, plus more as the film gained even more notoriety when it was nominated for Best Picture at the 82nd Academy Awards and Sandra Bullock won the Oscar Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Leigh Anne.

The Tuohys and Oher did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's requests for comment.

For years, Oher has expressed remorse over how the film depicts him — especially the way it frames him as a student who struggled in the classroom.

The Tuohys, however, alleged in their 2010 book, In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving, that they split the profits “five ways,” according to ESPN, who first reported the news.

Oher first met the Tuohy family when he was a student at Briarcrest Christian School in Eads, Tenn., where he often stayed with classmates’ families because he was “on his own” and “nearly penniless,” according to Monday’s legal filing.

Oher had bounced around a number of foster homes since he was 11 years old, having been raised in a family of 12. His mother Denise had struggled with drug addiction and his father died in 2004.

Monday’s filing alleges the Tuohys were one of the families he would “occasionally” stay with during that time. “Where other parents of Michael’s classmates saw Michael simply as a nice kid in need, Conservators Sean Tuohy and Leigh Anne Tuohy saw something else: a gullible young man whose athletic talent could be exploited for their own benefit.”

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The Tuohys took Oher on shopping trips and invited him to officially move in during the summer of 2004, according to the filing. “Almost immediately after Michael moved in, the Tuohys presented him with what he understood to be legal papers that were a necessary step in the adoption process,” the filing claims.

The conservatorship papers he wound up signing instead gave the Tuohys “total control” over Oher’s ability to sign contracts, the petition alleges. His filing claims the Tuohy family “falsely and publicly represented themselves” as Oher’s adoptive parents.

Oher’s relationship with the Tuohy family began to fall apart after the release of the 2009 film, which bothered him because it depicted him as unintelligent. He then learned he was the only member of the family not receiving royalty checks from the film, his attorney J. Gerard Stranch IV told ESPN.

Oher hired Stranch to begin looking into the situation, which led the attorney to uncovering the conservatorship papers earlier this year that showed Oher was allegedly never officially adopted by the Tuohy family.

"Mike didn't grow up with a stable family life. 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," Stranch told the outlet. "Discovering that he wasn't actually adopted devastated Mike and wounded him deeply."

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