These days, it's rare to read anything about Taylor Swift that doesn't feature some mention of her ever-expanding group of famous female friends.
Taylor's "squad" is as much a part of her public persona as her love life used to be, and many have suggested that it's one component of a conscious effort by her team to portray Swift as a drama-free supporter of other women.
Unfortunately, no matter what she does, Taylor seems to be a magnet for scrutiny and criticism, and making her popularity with her female peers a matter of public spectacle has prompted a good deal of speculation about the dynamic of the squad.
Taylor has invited famous friends on stage, walked the red carpet with a gaggle of models and actresses, and gushed about her girl posse in countless interviews.
At first she was praised as a feminist role model, but the tide quickly turned and questions started to emerge:
Is she simply friend collecting? Are her peers being to made to feel like sidekicks? Are all the girls equal, or is Taylor's squad all about Taylor?
Swift kind of addressed these criticisms when she stated during a recent that the criteria for squad membership is really quite simple:
“Number one, you have to like me. And number two, you have to want to spend time with me," she told thousands of young women, many of whom have no doubt imagined themselves in the squad.
While many have side-eyed the squad and have full of celebs have openly thrown shade at Taylor and her ever-present chick clique, most seem to agree that Taylor's decision to focus on female friendship is a good thing, both for her and her millions of impressionable fans.
Unfortunately, since it's taken the place of her romantic relationships as the part of her private life that she chooses to share with the public, Taylor's squad has become a source of tabloid fodder.
Recent reports have Taylor kicking members out for violating her strict set of rules.
Sources say she booted Kendall Jenner after the model began dating Taylor's ex-boyfriend Harry Styles.
Lena Dunham once described Taylor as her "best friend," but they reportedly haven't spoken in months.
Now, several insiders are claiming that Taylor and her longtime BFF Karlie Kloss are on the outs, a rumor that Kloss seems to have corroborated with a recent vague comment about "the ups and downs" of friendship.
We may never know if these reports are true, and it's generally easier to repair a friendship than a romantic relationship, so Taylor's exiled squad members may wind up back in her good graces.
Obviously, it would be impossible for Taylor to keep every part of her personal life on the down-low, but she grants fans far more access than most celebs, and it now looks as though the decision is blowing up in her face, just as it did when she was in the habit of sharing intimate details about her love life.