Sometimes you hear great things about others. Sometimes what you hear isn't very flattering. Sometimes it's even malicious.
None of this information matters one iota when you meet them in person, however.
I strive not to automatically believe what I read or hear about other people, good or bad. I rely on meeting them real-time. The one-on-one connection renders the rest of the story largely moot. The glitz, glamor, or other trappings of a reputation well-cultivated diminish in importance.
As a result, I'm usually surprised. The individual is not who I thought they would be, based on my prior knowledge. It goes to show you the value of showing up for people as you are, and in turn being open to them in the same fashion. Without preconditions or expectations, that is.
That's why even after learning whatever I can about someone I'm about to meet, I put it all aside before we connect. I'd like to hope people who are meeting me for the first time take the same approach.