When people watched a film about his life, they saw a story that was touching and touching. The story of a homeless black 17-year-old boy who was taken in by a white family. Thanks to her support – the young man first finally got a real home, then he got into the elite league of American football. Now, however, Michael Oher says the family never formally adopted him. They were to take advantage of it through a legal trick that made them enormously rich at his expense.
“Big Mike” is a biographical film about a homeless black boy who is rescued from poverty by a rich white family. The picture earned millions of dollars. Sandra Bullock, who played it, received her first and only Oscar to date. The film’s Mike – that is, Michael Oher – was taken in by Leigh Anne Tuohy and Sean Tuohy in real life. The story, however, was to be less colorful.
Oher, 37, has just filed a lawsuit against his guardians in a Tennessee court. The man in the 14-page document claims he was exploited financially. He writes that years ago he thought he was signing adoption papers, only in February of this year did he learn that the family was in guardianship over him, so now he is asking for it to end. “They have complete control over Oher’s ability to negotiate and conclude any contracts, despite the fact that he is over 18 and has not been diagnosed with any physical or mental disabilities,” reads part of the communiqué.
Oher also claims that the family not only deceived him, but also made millions in royalties from the film, when he himself received nothing. – Tuohy’s family doesn’t need his money. She never needed his money. Tuohy sold her company for $220 million. It’s a sad day. Devastating for this family and we hope it doesn’t deter others who want to help those in need,” said Steve Farese, the family’s lawyer.
Lawyers hired by the Tuohy family explained to the cameras that they did not need Michael’s money, because they were already wealthy enough because they owned a chain of fast-food restaurants. When asked about adoptions, they replied that it didn’t matter because the only purpose was to make him a member of the family. But why didn’t the tutelage end sooner? “Nobody thought of it, and there was no wealth for him to share anyway,” explains Martin Singer, one of the lawyers for the Tuohy family.
Michael Oher made his career in the NFL – the largest professional American football league. In 2013, he played in the Super Bowl final, where his team Baltimore Ravens won. In an interview with CBS Sports, he also said that he owes his career primarily to hard work and that he was never the way he was portrayed in the film. “I think the worst thing for me was being portrayed as someone who couldn’t read and write. Meanwhile, as an eight-year-old, I performed in school plays. When I showed up in the locker room, my teammates treated me as if I didn’t understand the rules of football, as if it was beyond me.
Oher was born one of twelve children to a woman addicted to drugs and alcohol. His father was in prison most of the time. Tuohy’s family took care of the boy when he was a teenager. She also paid him a private tutor, which later allowed him to get into the University of Mississippi. – I am very, very grateful to every family that has helped me on this journey. There are many people who deserve recognition, says Michael.
The Tuohys said in a statement that the lawsuit won’t change anything, that they love Oher as much as they did 20 years ago.
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Main photo source: cnn