What happened to the man behind ‘the dress that broke the internet’? Keir Johnston’s crime explained

Maddy Kinkead
The dress that broke the internet and the couple that made it go viral on their wedding.

‘The dress that broke the internet’ or ‘#TheDress’ was a viral debate that sent the internet into a frenzy back in 2015. The husband behind the dress was seen on talk shows around the US at the time, but has been back in the news this week due to a violent crime he committed years later.

The debate about the dress started as a disagreement between Grace Johnston and her then-fiancee Keir Johnston as Grace sent a photo to her mother about the dress. Keir saw it as blue and back, and Clare saw it as white and gold.

This debate quickly made its way online and became a viral sensation. In seemingly no time at all, the dress had been tweeted about 4.4 million times, a hugely successful Buzzfeed post had been written, and even celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West were debating the colors.

The hype of ‘the dress that broke the internet’ eventually died down (like any other fad internet trend), and you probably didn’t think of it again apart from when it resurfaced on your Facebook newsfeed from time to time.

What did the husband behind ‘the dress that broke the internet’ do?

the dress that went viral
A dark truth to the dress story has been uncovered.

However, #TheDress has been popping back up recently, for a more sinister reason. Keir Johnston, the husband behind ‘the dress that broke the internet’ admitted to endangering the life of his wife in court on Thursday, May 9, 2024.

The court in Glasgow, Scotland heard that the 38-year-old had strangled his wife in their home on March 6, 2022. Johnston turned on his wife Grace, and threatened her, saying: “Someone is going to die.”

Johnston had told his wife that she could not attend a job interview in mainland Scotland and she had defied his demands. Whilst he was out drinking at a local pub, the two had been arguing over text messages and Johnston returned home and told his wife he was leaving her.

Keir and Clare Johnston on The Ellen Show.
Keir and Clare Johnston on The Ellen Show.

The couple got into an altercation outside their home where Johnston threw his wife to the ground. The court heard that “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.”

Although Clare was able to escape this violent attack, it became clear during the course of the court hearing that she had been living in fear of her husband. Mrs. Johnston described several instances where her husband had threatened her, and even dragged her out of a pub. There is also no permanent police presence on the island where they lived – Colonsay.

Mrs. Johnston also described an 11-year campaign of abuse from her husband, despite the fact that the couple appeared on Ellen back in March 2015 after leaving their honeymoon early to be on the show.

The Ellen Show then gifted the newlyweds a 5-star luxury holiday to The Caribbean and a $10,000 cheque.

What will happen to the husband behind the dress?

Although the man behind the dress has not yet been charged, he will be sentenced next month and was denied bail, meaning he will remain in custody until this time.