Man behind viral blue-black dress photo accused of trying to kill wife

The couple that sparked a worldwide debate over the colors of a dress is now faced with allegations of domestic abuse and attempted murder, shedding light on a troubling story of suffering.

 Murderer, holding a knife, face to face with a terrified woman in a basement (illustrative). (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Murderer, holding a knife, face to face with a terrified woman in a basement (illustrative).
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

A man who gained global fame alongside his wife due to a dress that sparked a worldwide debate over its colors is now facing charges of attempting to murder his spouse.

Keir Johnston, a 38-year-old Scottish man, rose to prominence in 2015 when the dress worn by his mother-in-law at their wedding caused an online sensation.

People couldn't agree on whether the dress was black and blue or white and gold, igniting a global debate. However, Johnston is now making headlines for an entirely different reason.

Remember the dress?

Johnston stands accused of attempting to murder his wife, Grace Johnston, and is alleged to have violently abused her over 11 years, including reportedly brandishing a knife in front of her, pinning her against a wall, trying to attack her through an open car window, and more, according to multiple media reports.

He also reportedly forcibly isolated his wife from all of her friends and family and subjected her to financial abuse.

This allegedly culminated in an incident last March when he allegedly pinned her to the ground and strangled her.

Johnston has denied all allegations. The case is being handled by the High Court in Glasgow, with the preliminary hearing scheduled for early 2024 before the trial commences.

The couple gained viral fame in 2015 when a photo of the dress worn by Grace's mother, Cecilia Bleasdale, at their wedding was shared on Tumblr by their friend and wedding guest, Caitlin McNeill.

The image ignited a debate, with some perceiving the dress as blue and black while others saw it as white and gold. This controversy swept the Internet, leading to the dress being dubbed "the dress" or "the dress that broke the internet."

So, what is the true color of the dress?

Numerous celebrities, including Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and Chrissy Teigen, joined the online conversation at the time, discussing how our brains interpret colors.

But what color is it actually? It turns out, the dress is indeed blue and black. People on the Internet managed to locate the original dress on a fashion site, confirming that it contains no gold.

Adobe, the company behind Photoshop and other editing software, capitalized on the controversy to demonstrate how their software splits colors, providing evidence of different shades of blue.

The reason behind different perceptions of the dress lies in the quality of the original photo, the type of screen used to view it, and how our brains interpret colors.

BuzzFeed, which dedicated an entire project to the dress, presented expert opinions suggesting that due to the photograph's quality and unclear tones, our brains autonomously determine how to interpret the reflected light captured in the image. This interpretation is influenced by factors such as personal preferences, attention to specific details, expectations, and habitual eye movements. Additionally, the screen quality (e.g., phone or computer) and the surrounding lighting also contribute to the varying interpretations.

The dress controversy reached such heights that Keir, Grace, and McNeill were even invited to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. During the segment, the mother-in-law wore the dress, confirming its true colors as black and blue. As a wedding gift, DeGeneres presented the couple with a $10,000 check and an all-expenses-paid trip to the Caribbean.