Man behind viral blue-black dress illusion charged with trying to kill wife

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The Scottish man who rose to fame in 2015 over his mother-in-law’s viral black and blue or gold and white dress that divided the internet is now accused of trying to murder his wife.

Keir Johnston, 38, of the Isle of Colonsay, appeared at the High Court in Glasgow on Monday after being charged with the attempted murder of his wife, Grace Johnston.

He had allegedly committed an 11-year campaign of domestic violence acts and coercive control against Grace, which allegedly led to him trying to kill her last March by pinning her to the ground and compressing her neck.

Keir denied all allegations against him, including that he repeatedly assaulted his wife at their home before brandishing a knife and attempting to strangle her.

Other allegations stemming from incidents between April 2019 and March 2022 include allegedly pushing his bride against a wall, shouting at her and throttling her.

Man behind dress that broke the internet tried to kill his wife
Keir and Grace Johnston appeared on the “Ellen” show during the height of “the dress” debate in 2015.

He allegedly tried to get into a vehicle she was in and hit her through an open window, as well as another alleged incident where Keir put his wife in a headlock and dragged her out of a pub after she refused to leave with him.

Man behind dress that broke the internet tried to kill his wife
Many people saw “the dress” as black and blue while others insisted it was white and gold.
Tumblr/Caitlin McNeil

Keir also allegedly isolated Grace from her friends and family, as well as monitoring her money to decide how much of it she could have access to.

The couple became viral sensations in 2015 after their friend and wedding guest, Caitlin McNeil, posted a picture to Tumblr of a dress Grace’s mother, Cecilia Bleasdale, wore to their wedding.

Keir and Grace Johnston married in February 2015.
Keir and Grace Johnston married in February 2015.
Grace MacPhee/Facebook

People within the Johnston’s close circle declared that the dress appeared to be blue and black in the photo while others were firm it was white and gold.

The debate also intrigued the internet, and the garment became simply known as “the dress” or “the dress that broke the internet.”

Celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and Chrissy Teigen all chimed into the online conversation on how their brains processed the colors.

It was so controversial that Keir, Grace, and McNeil, even appeared on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” where Cecilia Bleasdale came out wearing the dress that was indeed black and blue.

Man behind dress that broke the internet tried to kill his wife
Keir allegedly physically abused Grace and tried to mentally abuse her for 11 years.
Grace MacPhee/Facebook

DeGeneres presented the couple with a $10,000 check as well as a trip to the Caribbean.  

The murder case will get a preliminary hearing before a trial in 2024.

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