Husband behind viral dress that broke internet admits he strangled wife

A picture of #TheDress went viral in 2015, attracting the attention of celebrities like Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian

Mike Bedigan
Monday 13 May 2024 13:42 BST
Man behind dress that broke the internet tried to kill his wife
Leer en Español

The man behind the white/gold-blue/black dress that “broke the internet” has pleaded guilty to endangering his wife’s life, and admitted to strangling her.

Keir Johnston, 38, appeared at the High Court in Glasgow on Thursday, where he pleaded guilty to a “terrifying” attack on his wife, Grace Johnston, that left her “fearing for her life”, but alive, according to The Daily Record.

Johnston, from the Isle of Colonsay, off the west coast of Scotland, was remanded in custody until his sentence next month, scheduled for 6 June.

Johnston received global attention for “#TheDress” after an image of his mother-in-law’s dress during his wedding in 2015 was shared online by a guest at the event.

The debate over the dress’s true colours – black and blue or white and gold – “broke the internet”, headlines said at the time and drew thousands of comments including from celebrities. Reality star Kim Kardashian posted that she had argued about it with her then-husband, Kanye West.

The photo dress posted on social media divided opinion as to whether it was white/gold, or black/blue
The photo dress posted on social media divided opinion as to whether it was white/gold, or black/blue (Swiked / Tumblr)

Ellen DeGeneres invited the Johnstons onto her talk show, where they were given $10,000 and a trip to Grenada.

This week, the Scottish court heard that behind closed doors Johnston left his wife fearing for her life, and had a history of domestic abuse towards her.

Chris Macintosh, prosecutor for the Crown, told Lady Drummond and the court how Grace lived in fear of her abusive husband, The Record reported. “There is no permanent police presence on the island, and she was in a situation where she felt trapped,” he said.

The court heard that Ms Johnston had once refused her husband’s demands not to attend a job interview on the mainland. Days later he told her he was leaving her before the pair got into an altercation where Johnston grabbed his wife and threw her to the ground.

“Johnston woke up and said that he was going to leave her. She went outside the property to stop him leaving. He followed her and pinned her to the ground,” Mr Macintosh said, according to The Record.

Keir Johnston, pictured left during a talk show appearance in 2015, admitted to strangling his wife Grace Johnston, right, during a hearing at the High Court in Glasgow on Thursday
Keir Johnston, pictured left during a talk show appearance in 2015, admitted to strangling his wife Grace Johnston, right, during a hearing at the High Court in Glasgow on Thursday (The Ellen Show/YouTube)

“He placed both knees on her arms, so she was unable to move. He then began strangling her with both his hands.

“She was initially able to scream and feared for her life and believed Johnston intended to kill her as he was very forceful,” Mr Macintosh said that despite suffering severe bruising, Ms Johnston did not require medical treatment.

Lawyers for Johnston said he had accepted responsibility for the assault. Lady Drummond denied Johnston bail and placed him in custody, telling him: “I have no need to tell you that this is a serious and violent offence.

“You repeatedly strangled her, injured her and put her life in danger in what must have been absolutely terrifying circumstances for her. “I am afraid, Mr Johnston, that your status has now changed, you have been convicted of a very serious crime and you will be remanded meantime.”

It is unclear whether the Johnstons have separated following the incident.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in