Man Tied To 2015 Viral Dress Debate Admits He Tried To Strangle Wife

A Scottish man linked to the black and blue dress that took the internet by storm pleaded guilty in Glasgow High Court on Thursday to attacking his wife in March of 2022, multiple outlets report.

Keir Johnston, 38, and his wife, Grace, shot to fame in 2015 over the dress that Grace’s mother wore to attend their wedding. A photo of the black-and-blue dress made it look white and gold to many viewers. The image went massively viral after a BuzzFeed post, with people around the world arguing over the color. (BuzzFeed is HuffPost’s parent company.) The couple eventually made an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show to discuss the uproar.

In this Feb. 27, 2015 file photo shows the black and blue dress in a window display at a Roman Originals shop in Lichfield, England.
In this Feb. 27, 2015 file photo shows the black and blue dress in a window display at a Roman Originals shop in Lichfield, England. AP Photo/Rui Vieira

The partnership took a dark turn. Johnston was accused of a number of instances of domestic violence against his wife taking place over the course of 11 years, ultimately leading to an incident on March 6, 2022, that caused her to fear for her life.

“There is no permanent police presence” on the remote Isle of Colonsay, where the Johnstons lived, and Grace “was in a situation where she felt trapped,” prosecutor Chris Macintosh told the court, according to The Guardian.

In the days before the attack, Grace Johnston had ignored Keir’s demands to not attend a job interview on the mainland, The Guardian reported. He was drinking in a pub on the day of the incident and sent several messages to Grace, including one that read, “You should support me but you do not.”

Grace Johnston returned home to Keir that day and he told her he was going to leave her, The Telegraph reports. She went outside, but he followed her and pinned her to ground before strangling her.

“She was initially able to scream. She feared for her life and believed Johnston intended to kill her. He was very forceful,” Macintosh said in court, according to The Telegraph.

According to the BBC, a witness who heard Grace scream attempted to pull Keir Johnston away from her.

Johnston stopped, but returned shortly after with a knife, threatening to “finish [her] off,” according to the outlet. Grace sent text messages to her friends asking for help and called authorities, stating, “My husband is trying to kill me.”

Judge Lady Drummond has remanded Johnston in custody until his sentencing.

“You repeatedly strangled her, injured her and put her life in danger in what must have been absolutely terrifying circumstances for her,” Drummond said in court, per media reports.

According to Glasgow High Courts Rolls, Johnston is expected to appear in court on June 6.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.