What happened to the owner of #TheDress after it went viral

Blue and black or white and gold?

Almost everyone has an answer — or, at least, a very strong opinion — about the great dress debate of 2015. In a year where #BreakTheInternet was used to describe everything from babies to booties, “the dress” might have come the closest to actually doing it. Originally picked up by Cates Holderness at Buzzfeed, the infamous photograph received a staggering 26.5 million uniques for the site over the course of just a couple days. Buzzfeed even had to assign an extra tech team just to make sure their servers didn’t crash.

But for the actual owner of the dress, the story hasn’t been quite so epic. In an interview with The Guardian, Cecilia Bleasdale has finally spoken out about what happened after her photo went viral — and it’s actually a rather heartbreaking tale.

“I’m not a very public person,” Bleasdale told The Guardian. “I’m not a blogger or anything like that. So it’s been quite stressful having to deal with it and thinking, What’s going to happen next?”

As the story goes, Bleasdale went to the mall with her partner, Paul Jinks, in order to find a dress for her daughter’s wedding. She tried on three, took photos of each, and purchased the third one along with a matching jacket. She sent the photos to her daughter, Grace, and told her which one she’d bought. When Grace asked if she meant the white and gold one, Bleasdale responded that no, the dress was blue and black.

The debate spiraled from there, and their immediate family — Jinks included — began picking sides. While no one commented on the dress at the wedding itself, one of Grace’s friends, Caitlin McNeill, was completely fascinated by the mind-melding picture, and posted it to her Tumblr. From there, the Internet exploded.

But aside from a trip to The Ellen DeGeneres Show (which, even with all the prizes they were given, caused Bleasdale and Jinks to lose money because of taking off work), Bleasdale explains that the dress has actually been more of a headache than it’s worth. She and Jinks are constantly bombarded by the media; and while they chose to hire solicitors to help collect royalty payments for the photograph (she technically owns the copyright, after all), they haven’t been able to get enough to actually cover the solicitors’ fees. The company behind the dress, Roman Originals, has been all but silent; and perhaps worst of all, the dress led Bleasdale to have a falling out with Grace. (They’re alright now!)

At the moment, Bleasdale and Jinks still aren’t sure what exactly to do with the dress — put it in a meme museum? — but it’s safe to say this viral sensation was more troublesome than its colors.

For more of Bleasdale’s story, you can read the rest of The Guardian‘s interview right here. And check out Bleasdale’s appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, below.

(Image via EllenTube)