Other fans accepted the reports as truth, albeit with caution.
“I think that media literacy is really important, and I have the benefit of having a few more years on some of these newer Swifties or younger Swifties,” said Katherine Mohr, a 31-year-old project manager from Madison, Wis. “I’ve been through the wringer on celebrity gossip before and know who you can trust and who you can’t.”
Ms. Mohr said she had not been quick to believe earlier gossip items concerning Ms. Swift, including those about marriage, pregnancy and some recent online speculation on why the singer had made a change in her set list, replacing “Invisible String,” a love song believed to be about her relationship with Mr. Alwyn, with a different number. But the articles from “Entertainment Tonight” and People were enough to persuade her that the breakup news was legit.
“There is a seriousness factor to this that there wasn’t with any of those rumors, and we need to be able to tell the difference,” Ms. Mohr said. “Otherwise, we’re never going to be able to survive in celebrity culture knowing what’s true and what’s not.”
Morgan Chadwick, 27, recalled meeting Ms. Swift at an event years ago and chatting with her about how the two women had been dating their boyfriends for the same amount of time. Ms. Chadwick, a graphic designer in Chicago, said she would often joke to her boyfriend, who is now her husband, that each new love song Ms. Swift wrote was about them.
“He would always roll his eyes,” she said.
“It’s sad, but also I’m an adult,” Ms. Chadwick added.
She said she wasn’t sure what to make of the breakup reports. “They’ve been so private in their relationship that I don’t know that there’s going to be any sort of confirmation other than, like, she might make some comment at a show, or he’s going to show up at a show,” Ms. Chadwick said.
Katie Devin Orenstein, 23, a recent college graduate living in New York, said she is counting down the days until she gets to see Ms. Swift at one of her concerts in New Jersey in May. She is, however, rethinking her outfit, which she had planned to wear as a nod to “Invisible String”: a teal shirt and yogurt shop employee uniform in homage to the line “teal was the color of your shirt when you were 16 at the yogurt shop.”
She added that she’ll be looking to Ms. Swift for the final word on her relationship status.
“Every single thing she does onstage, especially those surprise songs, everyone’s going to analyze it like it’s the damn Torah,” Ms. Orenstein said.